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Pick pocketing and hopeless police in Istanbul

I recently visited Istanbul. I was going from Grand Bazar to Taksim Square by Tram. 3,4 females were standing around us they were continuously trying to get close to us.they ran away at sultanahmet station. My wife checked her small bag pocket which was buttoned before riding the tram.She found that it was open and her identity cards, and 500 US dollers were gone.
We went to police station but police showed very hopeless attitude and said that the area is out of their jurisdiction. They gave us another police station address.
They also said that forget your money as now it's impossible to recover money. they didn't do even a single effort to recover our belongings via checking CCTV photage.
I advise all of those who are thinking about traveling to Istumbul that Be careful about pick pocketing in Istanbul specially when using public transportation.(bus, Tram and metro)
Once you get captured in to this there will be no way to recover your valuable belongings.
As Pakistani I always critisize our police and consider it as worst police in the world but after the bad experience of pick pocketing in Istanbul, Turkish police efficiency is a big question mark for me and my family.
500 US dollars is a big amount for me .
May Allah punish them who did this disasterous thing .
May Allah protect us from all bad people of this world . Aameen

Posted by
25102 posts

This is a copy and paste of the article on TA.

Posted by
4 posts

Yes Mr.Nigal, I also posted this thing on TripAdvisor . I didn't know whats cumunity guidelines . But I just want to share my experience to everyone. May be somebody get some benefit from my experience.

Posted by
15824 posts

I think it is not unusual to find police indifference about pick pocketing. It is not worth their efforts (in their opinion). I would expect the same in Paris, Rome, Barcelona or anywhere else. In New York, it is "Fill out this police report if you want to file an insurance claim. Next!"
Even Rick Steves, despite his constant warnings, fell victim recently.

Posted by
6606 posts

Why would a Pakistani citizen be carrying large amounts of US dollars in Istanbul (instead of Turkish lira)? Obviously, if you don't carry large amounts of cash on you, the pickpockets have nothing to gain. Stick to ATMs next time and get cash only as you need it, minimize your losses. I don't know how the police could help you - at the very least, you'd have to be able to clearly identify the thief. Were you in the position to do that? Regardless, I'm sorry this happened to you.

Posted by
2794 posts

I think this is a good reminder for this forum and any other forum where the OP posts to use an underclothing pouch for everything you can't afford to loose. Passport, larger quantities of money and spare credit card should be carried in an inaccessible "money belt" while traveling away from your home country and in large cities.

The problem of the police not even looking at CCTV footage in a known pickpocket area does show lack of concern to stem this problem. When one of our college students' backpacks was stolen while we were checking into a hotel in Amsterdam, at least the police did look at video footage. The backpack was recovered but nothing usable was in it. And yes, we did tell our students the above rule for our group, and no, they didn't always follow our rule.

Posted by
4 posts

@ Agnes ..
Dear detective agent ..
Turkish lira are pick pocket proof ???? As far as usd currency is concerned.
US dollars are internationally acceptable currency that's why Pakistani use to carry USD and ATM withdrawal extra tax are extra burden on pocket.

Posted by
8889 posts

drwaqasnisar, while I sympathise, I too was confused as to why you were carrying USD 500 in cash.
Changing cash is usually a lot more expensive than using an ATM. And you are changing twice and so would be paying twice (Pakistani rupee to USD and USD to Turkish Lira).
"Pakistani use to carry USD and ATM withdrawal extra tax are extra burden on pocket." - unless there are some very large charges Pakistani banks put on foreign ATM usage, an ATM would be a lot cheaper (and safer).

"US dollars are internationally acceptable currency" - I am not sure about Turkey, but in most of Europe this is not true, you would have problems changing USD. Most banks only change foreign currency for their own customers.

Posted by
18351 posts

I am sympathetic, having had a wallet lifted in Bulgaria under much less confusing conditions, but please heed the comments here so it doesn't happen to you again. Never, ever carry that kind of money unless it's in something like a moneybelt under your clothes. And do what you can to avoid carrying it at all. I do not know anything about Pakistani currency controls. If traveling with large amounts of cash (and paying probably about 10% extra for everything due to conversion fees) is truly unavoidable, each of you should have a money belt, and the funds should be split between the two of you. You should never access a money belt out on the street, so the day's walking-around money needs to be somewhere more accessible.

I'd rather leave excess cash in my hotel room, in an inconspicuous place locked inside my suitcase, but I would never have anything like $500 worth of currency at one time, and even a locked suitcase would make me nervous.

Posted by
422 posts

Nigel, yes, apparently it's Agnes.

Who knew?