While most people have the attitude of “that will never happen to me,” the reality is that is happens to a LOT of people while abroad. Tourists always seem to have big bullseyes on their foreheads that say “TOURIST.” Most of the people who would prey on tourists can notice them from a mile away and tend to equate tourists with money. Violent crime is not something that you really need to worry about in Europe, it is petty crime but it is rampant. Everyone that I met while studying abroad either got something stolen from them or knew a close friend that had something stolen from them. Usually this is phones and wallets. I personally had my wallet stolen. While there was no money in it (poor college student), it did contain my drivers license and my passport.
Here are some tips for guarding your stuff while out and about in Europe:
- Always wear a cross body bag that close at the top.
- While my bag was closed when I was robbed, most thieves would see that the bag is latched shut and move on to an easier target.
- Keep your phone either in your hand or away in your bag.
- It will get swiped so fast if it is hanging out of your pocket or on an easily visible outside pocket of your purse.
- Constantly check to make sure all of your belongings are still with you.
- I knew exactly where I had been robbed because I knew for certain that I had my wallet when we walked into the restaurant and I took one step out of the restaurant before I checked again and noticed it was gone. This can help with police reports and watching surveillance tapes.
- If you are robbed, act fast.
- The embassy can get you a new passport quickly but it still takes a few days.
- Always keep a document with important information such as your passport number, license number, and scanned copies of each.
- This aids tremendously in getting new ones issued if need be.
I give you this information so that you can be aware, not to scare you. Honestly, if you are robbed you probably will not notice until after it is already done and no harm, other than the loss of your belongings, will be done to you. If it happens, stay calm because it honestly is not all that difficult to replace your things, even something as important as a passport.