Where In Europe Are You Most Likely to Get Pickpocketed?

“Beware of pickpockets” is a phrase that you can find in most subways and some city squares across Europe. The phrase may be written in the local language and even in English. While this is a problem that’s become almost a bad tradition for tourists traveling to Europe, we hardly get a chance to look at real-world stats. Recently, however, a UK-based insurance comparison site held a poll to see where poor British tourists got pickpocketed the most in their travels abroad. The results showed one country as the clear winner.

Italy Is Where You’re Most Likely to Get Pickpocketed

The famous Trevi Fountain or Fontana di Trevi at Piazza Trevi, Rome
Image Credit: Shutterstock / ColorMaker

According to the survey, Italy is the country where people are most likely to get pickpocketed. The numbers are not even close: 478 mentions of pickpocketing for every million British tourists in the country were reported. While the odds may still seem like a bit of a long shot, keep in mind that other people besides the British get robbed. When you look at it that way, you’ll want to be more careful in this particular country.

Why is Italy so far and away at the top of the list? There are many theories out there, but one of the relevant ones has to do with the number of public squares, particularly in a city like Rome, and how crowded they tend to get. Think of the number of people that cram around the Fontana Di Trevi trying to throw a coin in. The same thing applies to places like Saint Peter’s, particularly on religious holidays. Knowing this, you’ll want to avoid peak hours at busy city squares here.

Be Careful Around the Eiffel Tower

Lots of people relaxing and having fun on Champ de Mars with the Eiffel Tower on background on a sunny day.
Image Credit: Shutterstock / William Perugini

Second on the list is Paris, France. The hotspot for pickpockets in this city are the gardens around the Eiffel Tower. In this case, 251 Britons for every million were robbed in France. Again, the fact that the gardens registered the most pickpockets makes a lot of sense. This is an area where many people gather, and most of them stare at the stars and do not pay too much attention to their surroundings. In fact, it’s even possible that many of them just drop their things while sitting on the grass and then complain about being robbed.

Barcelona’s Las Ramblas is Another Hotspot

Crowd Of People And Central Downtown Barcelona City On La Rambla Street
Image Credit: Shutterstock / Radu Bercan

Spain saw 111 mentions of pickpockets amongst British tourists. The area known as Las Ramblas, which is a large walkway with shops, restaurants, and street vendors galore in Barcelona, was named the most dangerous spot in the country. One of the good things about some of these city squares in Spain, like Plaza Mayor or Sol in Madrid, is that they tend to be rather large, and people don’t crowd around a specific spot. Therefore, this gives pickpockets fewer opportunities. As mentioned in Italy, the issue is that these squares tend to have an area that people crowd around, like the aforementioned fountain.

You’re Not Safe in Germany Either

The Schönburg (Schoenburg) is a castle above the medieval town of Oberwesel in the UNESCO World Heritage site of the Upper Middle Rhine Valley, Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany.
Image Credit: Shutterstock / DaLiu

This may come as a surprise, but you’re just as likely to get robbed in Germany as you are in Spain. The same number of British tourists reported getting robbed within the country. It’s certainly unfortunate for the people who got robbed, but it’s important to know that some of the spots that travelers may think are “safer” maybe aren’t all that much. The best thing that you can do is keep your guard up!

Isn’t the Subway the Most Dangerous Place?

Women on a subway
Image Credit: Shutterstock / BearFotos

The data seems to point to the fact that the subway systems in Europe aren’t actually where most pickpockets operate. One of the reasons why these are thought of as dangerous areas is because of the large crowds that gather there. The thing with the subway, though, is that as a robber, you may not have such an easy exit route. In city squares or the gardens around the Eiffel Tower, it’s apparently easier to pick a pocket and blend into the crowd as if nothing happened.

Mario Perez

Author: Mario Perez


Mario is a seasoned journalist who’s worked with multiple publications over the years. He has a passion for looking for that story within the story itself. When he’s not actively looking for breaking news, he enjoys playing and watching sports.

Leave a Comment