Common Crimes against Tourists and a Few Tips on How to Avoid Them
While the last thing you want to think about when planning your European vacation is what can go wrong or any crimes against tourists. It is best that you are aware of the likelihood of these situations and how to avoid them before your travel to Europe and learning the hard way. Crime against tourists is not an often discussed topic in the news, because these crimes are usually not reported. That is because even if you file a report with the local police, you will likely be safe at home and unable to follow through with the charges, if any are ever pressed.
The most common crimes against tourists are pick pocketing and mugging. Pick pockets can be just about anyone around you. Strangers in a foreign country might talk to you and seem very nice, but when you leave them and hit the next shop, you find that you are missing your wallet. The best way to avoid pick pockets is to avoid overly crowded places like buses and trains, and trust no one.
Mugging usually happens around currency exchange agencies. These thugs watch you enter the agency, and wait for you to come out, following you to a less crowded place where they take everything you have. Other criminals might actually hang around inside currency exchange agencies watching to see how much money people are exchanging. Those who exchange thousands of dollars at one time are the most likely to be mugged as soon as they leave. The best way to avoid these crimes is to conduct currency exchanges in places where there are few by standers. You should also exchange only small amounts of money every day or every couple of days, and at different locations.
Areas heavily populated by tourists are also targeted by pick pockets and muggers. The best way to avoid these types of crimes is to simply stay away from other tourists. Instead of visiting the normal tourist attractions, submerse yourself in the culture of the country that you are visiting by going to local shops and restaurants where tourists do not typically frequent. You should also avoid bars, night clubs, and secluded areas with few by standers.
Although money can be a prime motivator for crime, passports are often even more likely to be stolen than your valuables. Passports can be altered by the simple changing of a picture, and a way out of the country and into America can be a major reason for crime in some areas. Although you should have your passport on you at all times, you should keep it hidden on your person in a back pack, underneath your shirt, or strapped to your leg underneath your baggy slacks.
Another common crime against tourists is simple scamming. These crimes are often not discovered until much later, if ever. Restaurants, shops, and currency exchange agencies may attempt to get more money from you than is actually required for your transactions. The best way to avoid these types of crimes is to be completely familiar with typical prices and the exchange rates between US dollars and Euros or the national currency. If you are aware that a shop owner is trying to haggle you out of more money that something is worth, you will be able to call them on it and pay a lower, more reasonable price.
These are just a few considerations to be aware of when going on a European vacation. It’s a good idea to follow these same guidelines when traveling to other foreign countries. It’s especially time to be cautious whenever the country you visit is one where the cost of living is low compared to North America. An American or Canadian dollar can go a long way in such countries so there is likely to be even more people looking to cheat you out of your money. Caution is the word of the day when your money and personal belongings are at risk because crimes against tourists do happen.
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