What city has the worst pickpocket problem?Pickpockets are a threat to travelers in many places across the world. We’ve written about them in Paris, about “pickpocket-proof pants” and the jackets I wear to keep safe, but a question remains: Where is the risk of pickpockets worst? Well, via MSN, a few years back TripAdvisor rounded up ten cities “to beware pickpockets,” complete with tourist sites at which the risk of being pickpocketed in each spikes. It seems the list is not a data-driven ranking as much as a list of anecdotal standouts, but given it comes from a user base as large as TripAdvisor’s, it can be taken seriously.

Eight of the ten cities are in Europe, including the list’s number-one pickpocket destination: Barcelona. From the list: “One TripAdvisor reviewer compares Barcelona pickpocketing to a generally practiced and accepted sport, like football. For those who’d rather stay off the field, take caution: Las Ramblas, the famous wide, pedestrian walkway full of life, music, and people at all hours of the day and night, is the perfect place to get your purse poached.” For my part, I’ve walked down Las Ramblas multiple times and never had a problem.

Rome and Prague round out the top three. See the full list here—and if you have your own pickpocket story or advice, please share it in the comments!

And because it’s relevant: Concerned about pickpockets? Don’t go without travel insurance. Here’s my write-up on my annual travel insurance plan.



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11 Comments On "What City Has the Worst Pickpocket Problem?"
  1. Pat|

    Really? Following your link this is what I get , an article posted almost a decade ago. Really? “TRIPADVISOR HIGHLIGHTS TOP 10 PLACES WORLDWIDE TO BEWARE PICKPOCKETS
    European Cities Run Off with Majority of Top 10 and Spain Snags Two Spots
    LONDON, U.K. – 25 SEPTEMBER, 2009 – TripAdvisor®, the world’s most popular and largest travel community, today announced ten cities to beware pickpockets,

  2. MJ|

    The link was for a post in 2009 – recent? It probably is the same today but maybe you and your researchers could find something uptodate…

  3. Don Edmands Jr|

    My wife got pick-pocked in London (June 2018). She was watching her purse carefully, it was strapped to her side. We were in the underground trying to determine which train to catch when a group of teenage girls surrounded her and started giving directions. She then came over to me and said we need to take the “Red line.” I said that is in the wrong direction? Then she discovered her purse had been unzipped and money and credit cards were missing. By the time we got to the hotel and called the credit card companies, they had already tried to use them…one for $3000 worth of auto parts online! Credit card companies were smart enough to disapprove the charge.

    1. Johnny Jet|

      Whoa! It happens so quick. Best not to carry a purse which is easier said then done. I was in Germany and we were walking through a church on Palm Sunday and a thief snatched a woman’s wallet in our tour group.

  4. lee|

    read a suggestion a few years ago: bring a ‘fake’ wallet
    put some credit card look alikes in it and perhaps 2 dollars
    have that in your handbag while you have credit cards and money in a money belt.
    if your wallet is stolen or your purse, you lose nothing
    2. found travel pants with DEEP pockets and drag them with me on ever 3 month trips. pockets are not on all women’s pants and rarely deep pockets. This allows me to put the money i shall use that day and coins in one pocket and ONE credit card to use for bigger purchases…………so far very helpfu

  5. Drew|

    About 10 years, our cruise started in Barcelona. My wife and I were looking at a storefront display and I felt a tug at my back pocket. Fortunately, my wallet was in my front pocket. I saw an older lady walking away from me and at that instant, a police car happened to be going by. I flagged them down and pointed the lady out to them. Sure enough, they searched her and found multiple wallets. So, at least the police cared.

  6. Ken Geiger|

    I’ve never seen more pickpockets than at the Naddam festival in Ulan Bator. At least half of our 15 member tour group suffered attempts or actual losses.

  7. Doris|

    I would add Venice to a busy pickpocket city — especially an area where vaporetto tickets are purchased. Young children (with small hands) stand there watching people remove money from their pockets or purses to purchase tickets. They operate so quickly at removing money from front and back pockets. Accuse them of it and they just run away so quickly and disappear in the crowds.

  8. Joan H|

    I was in Florence when a woman with several small children surrounded my friend from the rear with a large piece of cardboard. They were after her camera on a fabric handle. I yelled “Basta” which got the attention of all the passersby who shooed the potential thieves away.


    about 7 years ago, we had entered the Madrid metro and needed to purchase a ticket. I had kept my wallet in front pocket most of trip but after getting ticket must have put in back pocket. I had noticed fella in yellow jacket watching folks getting tickets. As we boarded metro I saw same fella waiting to board my car with many people rushing to enter. As I entered I felt being bumped into and yellow jacketed man now entering car behind us. Before next stop I noticed wallet missing. My wife and I jumped out at next stop to see man exit the car as I approached him. He immediately held my wallet up and offered it to me claiming he got it from another man still in car he had exited from. I checked to see money missing but credit cards and id still there. As i approached the car to confront the man, I turned to see yellow man had disappeared. In hindsight, how would he have known it was my wallet, right? Since we were on way to hotel night before flight home, we were just glad only money was lost.

  10. Tom Nobles|

    Back against the wall while waiting. Arms hard to sides when walking. Have the cash or the credit card in your hand or shirt pocket when approaching the ticket office.

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