Avid travellers are used to encountering new cultures, witnessing breathtaking sights and embarking on unforgettable adventures around the world.
However, amidst the excitement, there is always a lurking risk of falling victim to pickpockets, no matter how careful you are. To shed light on this issue, the travel insurance comparison experts at Quotezone.co.uk have analysed data to rank the most popular European holiday destinations based on their European Pickpocketing Index.
The index takes into account the proportion of pickpocketing mentions in visitor reviews of each country’s top five tourist attractions. Surprisingly, Italy took the top spot with the highest number of pickpocketing mentions, totalling 1906 in Tripadvisor reviews. Visitors to iconic landmarks such as the Colosseum, Trevi Fountain, Pantheon in Rome, Duomo di Milano in Milan and Gallerie Degli Uffizi in Florence have reported having their belongings stolen.
France came in second on the index, with 283 pickpocketing mentions per million visitors. All five attractions monitored were located in Paris, which is known for its popularity among tourists. The Netherlands ranked third on the index, despite being the ninth most visited country in Europe. On the other hand, Spain, notorious for pickpocketing in cities such as Barcelona, surprisingly only ranked sixth on the list, with five times fewer mentions of theft compared to Italy.
Greg Wilson, founder and CEO of Quotezone.co.uk, expressed disappointment in the research findings, stating that thousands of people have reported theft while enjoying the best of what Europe has to offer. He emphasised that theft can happen anywhere, and tourist hotspots are prime targets for criminals due to the busy crowds. Mr Wilson explained that iconic attractions with large crowds, such as the Eiffel Tower in Paris and the Trevi Fountain in Rome, are particularly favoured by pickpockets for their ability to blend in inconspicuously.
“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,” Mr Wilson said.
“Many holidaymakers are unaware that some of the most popular destinations have some of the highest incidents of petty theft in Europe.”
Mr Wilson advises travellers to remain vigilant, leave valuables such as expensive jewellery in hotel safes, and use secure cross-body bags with zippers or money belts to protect phones and wallets.
Have you ever been pickpocketed? Where do you keep your valuable when travelling? Let us know in the comments section below.
Also read: Europe’s safest countries in 2022