Large jacket, shaggy hair and a watchful eye – sound familiar? This is the pick-pocket of days gone by – this notion can sometimes throw tourists off because the modern-day thief may not always be as easy to spot. Over the years, pick-pocketing has become a profession in many popular tourist destinations and the people carrying out the crimes are incredibly skilled – blending into crowds effortlessly, armed with ample schemes.
Many moons ago pick-pockets would select their target, swipe what they could and quickly move onto the next victim – but now thieves have resorted to violence in order to succeed. Recent reports* have shown that violence associated with theft is on the rise and though tourists are actively fighting back rather than just handing over their possessions, they are coming off worse. As a result, a number of tourists have sustained fatal injuries. So, we pose the question; is your gadget really worth losing your life?
In the heat of the moment it is easy for most people to forget that their gadget is insured. Whether that’s through their travel insurance, gadget insurance or home insurance. In most cases, a stolen item can be claimed for (as long as a police report is obtained) and replaced within a few days. So, although the instinct may be to fight for what is yours, it’s better to let your gadget – or any possession for that matter – go and walk away with your life. Although most holidays pass without any issues, crime rates differ greatly between countries. With this in mind we have pulled together the popular tourist destinations that are known for having a high crime rate and included a few tips for keeping yourself safe whilst abroad.
Rich in culture, food and white sandy beaches Mexico seems quite tempting – until you look at the crime rate. Margaritas aren’t the only thing rife in Mexico, crime is pretty high there too. With over 60 phones stolen a day* the country is no stranger to illegal activity. It has earned its place as one of the most dangerous places to visit, and rightfully so with a number of thefts resulting in violence.
Top tip: Before you travel be sure to fill out a form for the Department of State (this can be found on the Mexican embassy’s website) and add the embassy number (020 7499 8586) to your contacts.
If it’s a bit of Viking history that you’re looking for, you might want to stick to the history books or – make sure that you have the right travel insurance policy to protect your possessions. Whilst Stockholm is great for architecture and historical buildings it’s also a major hunting ground for pick-pockets. Be extra careful when in crowds, queues and popular tourist destinations. According to the Foreign and Common Wealth Office (FCO) pick-pockets are a known problem meaning gadgets and valuables are at high-risk.
Top tip: be aware of schemes – pick-pockets may offer to take your picture to distract you and steal your valuables or they may divert your attention by asking for directions. Avoid large crowds and busy tourist destinations if you can help it.
Home to some of the oldest cathedral in the Americas – and some of the most notorious sneak thief’s, Dominican Republic is another one to look out for when it comes to petty theft. Travellers have been advised by the FCO to avoid wearing expensive jewellery out as drive- by robberies are common.
Top tip: thieves operate on motorcycles by snatching bags and valuables from pedestrians whilst driving past – so make sure you keep valuables locked away safely.
A hotspot for tourists that enjoy diverse cultures and mouth-watering foods, Turkey offers a variety of experiences, however, it is important to remain vigilant when out in crowded places – one of the highest reported crimes in Turkey is pickpocketing.
Top tip: pick-pocketing is considered a profession in Turkey and some of the locals depend on it for their livelihood – this means they are particularly skilled when it comes to scheming tourists.
Fruit that tastes delightful and beaches that will leave you in awe, Philippines is one of the most scenic places to visit however, like many tourist hotspots, it comes with a few cautionary tales. Crime is an on-going problem in the Philippines. Tourists are often the target of a scam referred to as the Atvian Scam in which drinks are spiked and victims are robbed and assaulted. Another popular scam is referred to as the ‘bullet in a bag’ – airport staff will plant bullets inside passengers’ luggage to trigger alerts from the x-ray scanners. They will then demand money as a bribe after accusing you of carrying firearms and ammunition.
Top tip: make sure your luggage is securely locked and keep an eye out for anything or anyone that looks suspicious. You should also avoid carrying valuables on you person and always make sure you have a copy of your passport to hand instead of the actual document.
If your passport does get stolen, you can apply for an Emergency Travel Document (ETD) so that you can travel back home (this is a helpful tip for any country, not just the Philippines).
‘Hakuna Matata’ is a well-known saying, thanks to The Lion King, that may well have originated from Kenya itself with ties to the Swahili language – the common tongue for this scenic country. If only there were ‘no worries’ in life, but often that’s not the case. Home to some of the worlds’ most famous safari destinations, Kenya is embedded with nature and history – but yes, you guessed it, it’s also got a bad case of the sticky-fingers, so if you plan to travel with expensive gadgets and possessions make sure to take out a suitable level of insurance cover.
Top tip: make sure you carry a form of ID with you wherever you go. You will also need to show a visa on arrival.
Colourful ceremonies and exhilarating night life – the Land of Gods is renowned for its incredible beauty, but it seems that even paradise has become slightly wayward for those who can’t resist a little pick-pocketing, so make sure to have more than just a prayer handy when visiting those tourist hotspots.
Top tip: Always remain vigilant when visiting crowded places and report any suspicious activity to the local authorities.
No matter where you are planning to travel in 2020, always check the FCO’s website for the latest travel updates and advice.
How to protect yourself from thieves with the right travel insurance cover
Going on holiday should be a stress-free experience, but when you’re taking most of your possessions, including your gadgets, it can be anything but. According to Statista 96% of 16-24-year olds take a smart phone on holiday with them meaning they are already at risk of being targeted by pickpockets and scammers. Now-a-days gadgets aren’t cheap to buy, so you could find yourself heavily out of pocket if your gadget is stolen and you haven’t ensured you have the right insurance policy. If your gadgets are not already insured elsewhere it is worth buying a travel insurance policy that will offer a gadget extension. Just remember to make sure your gadget meets the eligibility criteria.