The Clever Travel Companion Updates

Pickpocketing and safety in Turkey August 02 2014, 0 Comments

Turkey is a destination full of rich and diverse culture that makes exploration more enjoyable. There are so many attractions to see and views to take in. Being in Turkey is unlike any other region in the world and it is no surprise at all that is one of the 10 most popular tourist destinations. However, being a hotbed for tourists also makes Turkey at risk of pickpocketing. Pickpocketing is a type of petty theft that is carried out by the locals on unsuspecting tourists. Before you book your next Turkey getaway, you should become more familiar with the targets and how to stay safe when traveling.

Distractions Serve Pickpocketing

The reason that the most popular crime in Turkey is pickpocketing deals with the distraction factor. It is no shock that pickpocketers are looking for targets and tourists that are distracted by the sites. When you are taking in the amazing views that surround you, it is easy to become distracted and make a pick pocketer’s job even easier. Turkey is a place of history and legend that can captivate you with ease. However, this distraction is what locals use to make pick pocketing more unrecognizable. 

Crime in Turkey

It is important to note that there is not much violent crime taking place in Turkey that you must be fearful of. Theft is the main crime that you have to be on the lookout for. Pickpocketing is something that is common in Turkey, but Turkey is still not one of the most targeted cities in the world. Turkey is quickly rising up the list, but it is still outside the top 10 cities notorious for pickpocketing. 

Pickpocketing Safety Tips

Pickpocketing is a skill and locals that do this as a profession are incredibly good at it. The distraction tactic is what is used most often and it is designed to keep you from noticing the theft. Having your wallet in your back pocket makes you an easy target, but it is just a good idea to not carry a lot of cash with you. Keep a credit card on hand and check your pockets regularly to ensure that you notice right away in the event that it is stolen. The loss of cash is not covered by most traveler’s insurance policies, so you simply need to exercise caution and keep from being too distracted. 

France issues warning about pickpockets during Tour de France July 08 2014, 0 Comments

The Tour de France is a big draw for tourists and travelers of all kinds. Unfortunately, this also means it is a draw for pickpockets. We’ve seen the big numbers of pickpockets that come out with international sporting events in the past, like the 2012 Olympics in London where 1,700 people were pickpocketed every day in the run-up to the Olympics. Every year in Paris alone some 2,000 Americans report their passports lost or stolen, most often due to pickpocketing. When you look at France as a whole (and not just American travelers), there are 797,217 thefts (pickpockets and muggings) in a year.

So, what do the French police advise spectors of the Tour de France and travelers in general to do in order to stay safe? The Essex Watch Liaison Officer, Colin Freeman, advises tourists to “keep valuables in zipped interior pockets of jackets and coats rather than the back pockets of jeans or trousers.” Did you hear that? Monsieur Freeman knows that pickpockets can’t get into those interior pockets, and I’m sure that if he knew about the Clever Travel Companion underwear and shirts with hidden, zippered pockets he would be endorsing them for theft prevention all day long!


Navigating Your Travel Safely And Avoiding Pickpockets this Summer June 18 2014, 0 Comments

Traveling to Spain, Italy or France? Good luck! Pickpockets are most prevalent and successful in the major cities of these countries as opposed to anywhere else in the entire world!  

Pickpockets often work in teams, one as the "grabber" and the other as the "distracter." Usually, your attention is kept away from the Grabber by having the Distracter bump into you, ask for directions, or aide them in gathering dropped items. This makes it easier for the Grabber to undetected and allows for the thief to get away without you ever seeing them. Some work in groups or alone as well. If they are working alone they will look for people who seem lost, paying attention to their children and traveling companions, street shows, or pretty unique things in shop windows. 

Unfortunately, pickpocketing is widely considered a petty crime. Therefore, there isn't any data to prove that this is a big issue. This crime will continue to be a real danger for travelers as long as it isn't recognized for the dangerous problem it is. Until that happens we have to take measures to make ourselves and our belongings as safe as possible. 

A good rule of thumb is to always follow your instincts, if you are uncomfortable or get that weird ominous feeling in the pit of your stomach, take steps to feel safer by getting into a better lit area and avoid any disturbances. Remember, thieves will take use this distraction as an opportunity to steal your items and get away undetected. Befriending locals and staying in a group is a good way to remain safe and avoid being an easy target. Locals will know which areas to avoid and the best places to grab a drink or get some great local cuisine. Leaving valuable in your hotel room and only bringing necessary items with you will make travel and exploring easier and you will become less interesting to undesirables. Any bags or purses you must take should be kept in constant contact especially in large crowds. Learning a few key safety phrases in the native language is always a good idea so if there is cause to ask for help the people around will understand you and come to your aide.

There is absolutely nothing as fun and exciting as traveling. Discovering interesting places while experiencing new cultures is an amazing opportunity that shouldn't be marred by having your wallet or passport stolen. Keep these simple, easy tips in mind while enjoying your explorations, and memories of frantically filled out police reports or phone calls to friends for airfare home will be part of someone else's journey. To all of you, I wish happy safe travels!