ABOVE: Puppy lover or dog snatcher? (Paris
Hilton, watch your pooch!)
Mistake #9: Being careless with valuables.
crime is practically unknown in Venice, but--like many popular tourist
destinations--the city is a magnet for pickpockets, purse thieves, and other
crooks who prey on careless or inattentive visitors.
We've never had anything stolen (maybe because thieves have been
intimidated by our scary-looking canine
bodyguard), but friends, acquaintances, and relatives haven't always been so
Our niece lost her purse in the railroad station, and we
know a travel writer whose video camera disappeared when she set down her
tote to buy a gelato.
At a language school that one of us attended last winter,
three women in a class of a dozen students reported having their wallets
lifted in Venice.
Most thefts occur because people make careless (and easily
avoided) mistakes such as:
Carrying wallets in hip pockets, where they're easy for a
pickpocket to reach.
Wearing purses over and behind the shoulder.
Storing valuables in hip pouches or "fanny packs."
Stuffing mobile phones, passports, and other valuables in
heavy camera bags (or, worse yet, obvious camera backpacks) that might as
well be labeled "Steal me."
Resting handbags on top of luggage while concentrating on a
map or guidebook.
Hanging purses from chair backs in cafés
Wearing "neck wallets" outside clothing, in full view of
thieves, instead of hidden inside a shirt or blouse.
Use common sense, be aware of your possessions and
surroundings, and read our "Crime
in Europe" article before you leave home.
Keep a small amount of cash, a credit card, and an ATM card
in a thin wallet that you're carrying in a safe place (such as a zippered
shirt security pocket). Store your passport and other valuables in a
separate, hidden neck wallet.
- Carry photocopies of your passport, driver's license,
and credit or debit cards in a separate location (e.g., with your companion)
so you'll be able to report your losses and get replacements if the
originals are lost or stolen.
Mistake #10: Annoying the locals.
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