Where do we get our pickpocket statistics?

We’ve talked a lot about the top 10 places worldwide to beware pickpockets before in our blog - the information is from the very helpful list created by the preeminent travel site TripAdvisor. Have you ever wondered how these top 10 lists are created? Usually they are backed by statistics and other numerical data from government and non-governmental organizations. However, we found out that TripAdvisor created their top 10 list based on anecdotal tales from travelers and their editors. Now, there isn’t anything wrong with this, per se - stories about getting pickpocketed give us lots of great information, especially when we learn their tricks and can start to spot them.

But I wanted to get down to the nitty-gritty. I wanted to look at the actual crime statistics for these cities and find out if this top 10 list really is valid.

Well, guess what. Apparently it isn’t that easy. Most cities across the world don’t keep statistics on just pickpockets. They do (usually) keep crime statistics on theft which includes pickpockets, muggings, and purse snatchings and excludes burglary, robbery, home invasion, and vehicle theft. However, many cities, and even some countries, do not practice transparent government in this area. You just can’t find the information, and they aren’t willing to give it out freely. You can generally find overall crime rates for a city, but not specific stats for a given type of crime, like theft. Countries keep better statistics than their cities do, and the public can view this information more easily.

That’s why you will notice in our blog that a lot of our lists and fact sheets include rankings of countries. We do include city data when it is available, and we are interested in top 10 lists created from gathering large amounts of anecdotal information like TripAdvisor’s list of the worst places for pickpockets in the world. We think it’s important for travelers to know the numbers, when we can get them. And, when they aren’t available, listen to your fellow travelers. If thousands of people are saying they’ve experienced problems with pickpockets in Barcelona, then it’s time to listen!

Top 10 Places Worldwide to Beware Pickpockets

  1. Barcelona, Spain

  2. Rome, Italy

  3. Prague, Czech Republic

  4. Madrid, Spain

  5. Paris, France

  6. Florence, Italy

  7. Buenos Aires, Argentina

  8. Amsterdam, Netherlands

  9. Athens, Greece

  10. Hanoi, Vietnam


Two pickpockets working together in Barcelona, Spain using a strange technique to surprise and confuse their victim.



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