World's worst pickpocket destinations revealed, TripAdvisor
Expedia-owned travel site TripAdvisor just released findings on this year's worst tourist destinations for pickpocketing. For the second year running Barcelona tops the "TripAdvisor Pickpocket Index" and London enters the top ten for the first time.
The 2010 Pickpocket Index is based solely on TripAdvisor site data and a calculation of the number of times travelers use the term "pickpocket" (and translations of) in their TripAdvisor reviews in the last 12 months.
Curiously, all ten spots in this year's list are in Europe, suggesting a rampant lack of public security across the pond, but which may also be indicative of the most popular travel destinations on the bell curve of opportunity, or non-Europeans penchant for posting personal anecdotes on travel web sites, or a lack of common sense on the part of non-European travelers.
TripAdvisor does note that London is a new entry this year, a destination that sees some 26 million tourists annually and therefore "prime hunting grounds" for pickpockets.
Regardless, the TripAdvisor Pickpocket Index looks like this:
Global Pickpocket Top Ten 2010 (vs 2009)
1. Barcelona, Spain (1)
2. Rome, Italy (2)
3. Paris, France (5)
4. Madrid, Spain (-)
5. Athens, Greece (9)
6. Prague, Czech Republic (3)
7. Costa Brava (Alicante Province), Spain (-)
8. Lisbon, Portugal (-)
9. Tenerife, Spain (-)
10. London, England (-)
The TripAdvisor study also lists tips to avoid being pickpocketed, which seasoned travelers might refer to as "common sense." To wit:
a) Maintain vigilance, especially in crowded tourist areas and on public transport.
b) Avoid letting others see where you keep your money - be as inconspicuous as possible when paying for things.
c) Keep all valuables on your person and close to you at all times, preferably in front of your body. Wear your backpack under your arm rather than on your back.
d) If you must carry a purse or bag, choose one that you can carry across your chest.
e) Store money and credit cards in a money belt around your waist or neck.
f) Place the strap of a purse or backpack under your chair leg to deter pickpockets while you are seated at a restaurant. Never leave a bag hanging on the back of your chair.
g) Leave anything you don't need (ie. passports, tickets) locked in your hotel safe. Take only one credit card and a small amount of cash out each day.
In the interest of not doing anybody any favors, TripAdvisor did not release details on the least likely places to provoke keyword: pickpocket.