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What are the top European destinations where pickpockets operate?

Keeping your valuables safe is a key part of international travel, but some tourist hotspots are worse than others.

Italy was found to be Europe's most prolific destination for pickpockets.

Having a valuable belonging cruelly snatched during that split second you’re not looking is one of the most frustrating and distressing parts of global travel.

British insurer Quotezone has crunched the numbers based on online reviews and identified the top European countries and attractions where nefarious pickpockets lurk, waiting to get their hands on an unattended phone, handbag or other item of monetary value.

According to the study, Italy ranked as the most likely place where a tourist may have an item lifted without their knowledge, with 1,906 online reviews specifically mentioning the Colosseum, Trevi Fountain and Pantheon in Rome, as well as the Duomo di Milano in Milan and the Gallerie Degli Uffizi in Florence.

Based on overall visitor numbers, Italy recorded 463 mentions of pickpocketing per million visitors.

France was the second most prolific for pickpockets, with 283 online mentions per million visitors, most notably at the Eiffel Tower. The top five hotspots for casual thieves in France were all in Paris.

Unsecured valuables can be gone in a flash while on holidays.

The Netherlands, Germany and Greece rounded out the top five, with Spain, Portugal, Türkiye, Ireland and Poland completing the top ten.

Quotezone Founder and CEO, Greg Wilson, said that thousands of people have complained about items being stolen while holidaying in Europe.

“Theft can happen anywhere and tourist hotspots are convenient places for criminals to target holidaymakers’ wallets and purses whilst they are busy taking in the sites,” Wilson said.

“It is essential always to remain vigilant, leave valuables, like expensive jewellery, in a safe in the hotel and always travel with a secure cross-body bag with zips to secure phones and wallets or even a money belt.

“Try never to leave personal belongings unattended because travel insurance companies require travellers to take ‘reasonable care’ and could reject claims if items have been left alone,” Wilson continued.

“It is also important to remember to get a police report for the loss or theft of an item as this will support the insurance claim.

“Remember to double check what is and isn’t covered on the travel insurance policy before heading to these high-ranking destinations, most travel insurance policies cover important documentation such as passports but rarely cover stolen cash and phones.  Most providers allow travellers to add on extras that might be needed such as gadget travel insurance.”

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Written by: Matt Lennon
Published: 13 April 2023

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