Nothing can ruin your picturesque experience in a beautiful city you’ve never been to like the sudden realization that you’ve been pickpocketed. Even if you’re an experienced traveler, pickpockets in some cities can target and rob you with elaborate setups and unprecedented skill. These are 18 secrets pickpockets don’t want you to know— they might just save your wallet one day.
TripAdvisor compiled a list of the cities where you should be on the highest alert for pickpockets, based on information from editors and travelers. The city that took the number one spot was Barcelona, a tourist hotspot full of crowded streets, landmarks, and sightseeing opportunities (in other words, a pickpocket’s dream!). Starting in 2011, the city’s crackdown on street crime led to a dip in petty thefts, but the numbers have been inching back up in recent years. In early 2018, Barcelona saw about 289 petty thefts every day on average.
Spain had one more city on TripAdvisor’s list, too; Madrid took the fourth spot. It was the only country besides Italy to have two locations on the list. Unsurprisingly, the most street crimes happen during Madrid’s summer tourist season, the holiday season (November to January), and during hard economic times, according to the U.S. Department of State’s Overseas Security Advisory Council.
The remaining cities in the top five were Rome, Prague, and Paris. Interestingly, European cities made up eight of the top ten. The only non-European pickpocket hotspots were Buenos Aires, Argentina, and Hanoi, Vietnam. Many of the cities ranked were noted to have busy, outdoor attractions among their most popular sites, where tourists are very vulnerable to thieves. Check out the complete list from TripAdvisor.
The list serves as a good reminder that travelers should always be on their guard in places both familiar and unfamiliar to avoid detrimental problems like these. Make sure you know the signs that you’re about to be pickpocketed before it happens. And always avoid these other travel mistakes that can ruin your perfect vacation.