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26 Worst Cities for Pickpocketing

Athens, Greece

The Parthenon draws records numbers of visitors. Where there are tourists, there are also pickpockets. Pay close attention to your purses and wallets when queuing for entry into attractions or while you're distracted taking pictures of the lovely scenery.

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Florence, Italy

Florence is famous for its numerous art galleries and architectural monuments, but the city's many squares are teeming with tourists. That creates the perfect location for pickpockets, which are happy to grab your phone right out of your hand.

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Buenos Aires, Argentina

Buenos Aires is a tightly congested South American city with nearly 3 million inhabitants--perfect for pickpockets to nab your valuables. Beware of people who "accidentally" bump into you or spill things on you. It may just be a ploy to distract you, giving them enough time to make off with your purse or wallet.

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Amsterdam, Netherlands

Amsterdammers, by and large, are friendly people willing to help you if you need to ask for directions. If you're suddenly approached by an overly attentive person when you didn't ask for anything, you may want to keep an eye out for an accomplice coming up behind you.

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Hanoi, Vietnam

The open-air markets and narrow streets of Hanoi can quickly become congested with passersby, bicycles, and motorbikes. Beware of bumps and nudges, and don't be flashy with your valuables.

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Rome, Italy

Nearly every location in Rome is one of the world's greatest photo opportunities, but don't leave your valuables unattended when posing for a picture. Likewise, choose carefully whom you ask to take your picture. Your camera might not be handed back to you.

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Prague, Czech Republic

There are many beautiful old bridges in Prague, and they're said to be one of the most awe-inspiring cities in Europe. But when you're visiting the Charles Bridge or the old Prague Castle, these close quarters place your bags and pockets in easy access to thieves.

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Madrid, Spain

El Rastro, a major flea market in Madrid, Spain, offers great deals on numerous wares, but what many visitors don't bet on are the pickpockets. Beware of children, who typically work in groups by distracting your attention and having a partner lift your belongings.

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Paris, France

If there's one thing to take away from this list, it's that major tourist attractions also bring would be thieves. Because many tourists carry cash, especially international visitors, areas around the Eiffel Tower and the numerous museums are a hotbed of pickpocket activity. An additional tip is to stand near the middle of Paris Métro train cars, away from the doors. Pickpockets have been known to snag items just before the doors close on unsuspecting victims. 

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Barcelona, Spain

This list doesn't treat Spain too well, having two cities in the top three. The city is one of Europe's most popular, and the weather means that most people are outdoors taking advantage of the gorgeous Mediterranean sun. This, however, also brings out pickpockets preying on unaware tourists.

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Detroit, Michigan

Ah, Detroit. While most American cities have no issue with pickpocketing, Detroit has a big problem with it. It’s awful around tourist areas and event venues. Keep your belongings close to you and on hand, especially your purses as bag snatching happens on occasion.

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Vatican City, Italy

We’re listing The Vatican as its own place for a couple of reasons. First, it is technically its own place in Rome. Second, pickpocketing is so much worse in the Holy City than anywhere else in Rome. Walking around the museum gives pickpockets plenty of opportunities to slip your belongings out of your pockets and purse since people are packed in like sardines.

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Memphis, Tennessee

Beale Street sees plenty of tourists every year, but this means that there are more opportunities for pickpockets, especially since some of the tourists are more than a little inebriated. Hold your purses tightly and keep your wallet in your front pockets.

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Mexico City, Mexico

Most people that have been to Mexico City will encourage you to leave your valuables at home. It isn’t advisable to wear anything expensive because it just puts a big target on your back. It’s also a good idea to keep a copy of your visa and passport in your hotel for safe measure. 

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Kiev, Ukraine

Visit Kiev but be careful as you walk around. In general, people are really friendly but avoid anyone that approaches you without you initiating the conversation first. One of the more popular scams is one where someone approaches you, claiming they were a tourist that's been robbed.

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Beijing, China

Beijing is one of the most beautiful places you’ll ever see, but it can also be dangerous for tourists. As long as you keep a watchful eye over your belongings, you won’t be an easy target. Places like the Great Wall of China, Tiananmen Square, and the Forbidden City are some of the most pickpocketed areas. 

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Caracas, Venezuela

Caracas is full of diversity, but it’s also full of pickpockets. Furthermore, the United States encourages people to stay away from this place due to crime, civil unrest, and abysmal health infrastructure. Visit at your own risk.

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Cairo, Egypt

Cairo has over 16 million people and tons of history that everyone should learn. That being said, your visit to the Egyptian Museum, the Pyramids of Giza, and the Saqqara Pyramid Complex could turn bad when you find out your pockets were picked clean!

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Cordoba, Argentina

Cordoba is a trendy tourist spot, but a lot of tourists claim pickpockets are horrible in the city. Jewelry, phones, and credit cards are some of the most common targets for criminals that will grab what they can in crowded areas and public transport.

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Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Kuala Lumpur has over seven million people and some of the cheapest five-star hotels in the world. Just make sure that you’re paying attention when eating your delicious food or visiting a tourist spot! Pickpockets are especially active and work in groups.

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Belize City, Belize

Belize City isn’t big and isn’t incredibly popular with tourists. Could it be because pickpocketing is such an issue there? Along with pickpocketing, the risk of being mugged is pretty high. Don’t walk around alone, and if something happens, don’t fight back.

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La Paz, Bolivia

La Paz has plenty of tourist spots like the Plaza Murillo, the Witches’ Market, and the Bolivian Presidential Palace. While you’re traveling from place to place, keep a watch on your items. One of the most common tricks used by criminals is spilling something on your clothing while another person grabs your items. 

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Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Rio de Janeiro has a very high risk of pickpocketing since tourists and teenagers are easy targets. They’re usually lurking around on beaches, public transportation, or crowded streets. Centro is generally safe since there are police walking around, but we would suggest being careful at all times.

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Moscow, Russia

Pickpocketing is really common in Moscow, specifically in crowded areas. The toughest part about Moscow is that most of the criminals are children. If you see a group wandering around, hold onto your things tightly.

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Acapulco, Mexico

Acapulco is pretty safe other than the pickpocketing issue. Most pickpocketing activity happens around public transportation, but it isn’t unusual for police to receive a report of their purse being snatched while wandering around.

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Baltimore, Maryland

Baltimore has a pretty bad issue with pickpockets and purse snatchers for tourists and locals alike. When visiting the city, keep your belongings close and stay vigilant. Mugging is another problem the city has had recently, but it’s a much less common problem when compared to pickpocketing.

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