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Which European countries are most at risk of pickpocketing?

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  •  Italy ranks as the European country with the highest pickpocketing rates, with iconic attractions like the Colosseum in Rome being prime targets for thieves. France and the Netherlands follow closely behind.
  • To protect yourself from pickpockets, experts recommend leaving valuables in hotel safes, carrying secure cross-body bags, remaining vigilant in crowded areas, and obtaining police reports for insurance claims in case of theft.
  • Leveraging technology like "find my phone" apps and enabling automatic data backups can help mitigate the impact of having a device stolen while traveling.ShareRewrite

As the summer travel season approaches, countless tourists eagerly anticipate exploring Europe's captivating destinations. However, amidst the excitement, a lurking threat looms – the risk of falling victim to pickpockets. A recent study by Quotezone.co.uk, a travel insurance comparison website, has shed light on the European countries where this insidious crime is most prevalent, providing valuable insights for vigilant travelers.

According to the European Pickpocketing Index, "Italy emerges as the nation grappling with the highest rates of pickpocketing incidents." The study analyzed visitor reviews for the top five tourist attractions in each country, revealing a staggering 1,906 mentions of theft at iconic Italian landmarks like the Colosseum, Trevi Fountain, and Pantheon in Rome, the Duomo di Milano, and the Gallerie degli Uffizi in Florence. This equates to a staggering 463 pickpocketing mentions per million visitors, an alarming statistic that demands heightened awareness.

Trailing closely behind Italy is France, with 283 pickpocketing mentions per million visitors. The City of Light, Paris, harbors several hotspots where these opportunistic criminals thrive, including the iconic Eiffel Tower, the Louvre Museum, and the Sacre-Coeur Basilica in the bohemian district of Montmartre.

The Netherlands ranks third on the pickpocketing index, with larger cities like Amsterdam, Rotterdam, and The Hague posing significant risks. Tourists are advised to exercise caution on public transportation and in crowded areas like the Centraal Station and the Red Light District.

While the study highlights the top offenders, it's important to note that pickpocketing can occur in any European destination, with Germany, Greece, Spain, Portugal, and Turkey also featuring prominently on the list.

Greg Wilson, the founder and CEO of Quotezone.co.uk, emphasizes the vulnerability of tourists in crowded areas, stating, "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." He further cautions that iconic attractions like the Eiffel Tower and the Trevi Fountain are particularly popular with pickpockets, as they can blend seamlessly into the larger crowds.

To combat this threat, experts offer a range of practical tips for safeguarding your belongings. Leaving valuables, such as expensive jewelry, in a hotel safe is highly recommended. Carrying a secure cross-body bag that zips up can also help deter potential thieves from accessing your phones and wallets with ease.

Moreover, travel insurance companies stress the importance of exercising "reasonable care" to avoid potential claims being rejected. This includes never leaving personal belongings unattended and obtaining a police report in the event of theft, as this documentation will support insurance claims.

Embracing technological solutions can also provide an added layer of security. Downloading a "find my phone" app and enabling automatic data backups and photo uploads to online storage can mitigate the impact of a stolen device.

While the prospect of pickpocketing may dampen the excitement of exploring Europe's cultural treasures, awareness and vigilance can go a long way in ensuring a memorable and incident-free vacation. By heeding expert advice and remaining cautious, particularly in crowded areas, travelers can focus on creating lasting memories without the distress of falling victim to petty crime.

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