As the holidays approach, certain tourist places are stormed by tourists, who are themselves targeted by pickpockets. Cell phone, bag, jewelry, money, bank card… these thugs will stop at nothing to steal from their victim. Both outside and on public transport or in shops, this phenomenon is increasing.

These very cunning pickpockets have well-crafted techniques to isolate and distract their victim before subtly robbing them.

As part of a survey carried out by Paris Match, journalists visited the places most frequented by tourists in the capital. Eiffel Tower, Louvres museum, Pont des Arts, Montmartre, Champs de Mars, Forum des Halles… These places adored by tourists and lovers of Haussmannian architecture, are unfortunately riddled with thugs ready to do anything to steal your personal property .

The journalists also provide details on the physical characteristics of these thieves: “Dark or bleached hair gathered in a bun, long shapeless down jackets buttoned over their tracksuits, sneakers…”

One of the most common methods used by pickpockets is to distract their victim with a fake petition. “While a little girl waves under the nose of one of the prey a petition for donations in favor of a bogus association helping the deaf and dumb, the hand of a sidekick slips treacherously into her tote bag. And the matter is in the bag, so to speak. Cash and telephone are no longer there,” we can read in the survey.

For this technique, the thieves would particularly target Japanese and Korean tourists. “They often have a lot of cash on them,” confides François, a pancake and waffle seller near the Pont des Arts.

In certain districts, the concentration of pickpockets is higher than elsewhere.

“At the Louvre, it is “teen pickpockets” from the Roma community who hold the upper hand,” indicates Paris Match. “The neighborhood has everything you could dream of: game in abundance, fast food restaurants for a quick lunch, the nearby Forum des Halles to ward off potential pursuers, exchange offices to convert foreign currencies into euros ”

The area is also ideal for spending stolen money or using the victim’s bank card. In fact, by the time she realizes that she no longer has her card, the expenses have already been made.

Often passing through the capital for a few weeks, the victims, often tourists, rarely file complaints. The police are also stuck facing these teenage girls. “These are the limits of the French judicial system on minors. These kids know that they risk almost nothing. In any case, when you catch them in the act, they often already have nothing on them, everything has been given to an accomplice,” laments an executive from the Paris region at the Alternative Police union.

In 2018, 5,989 unaccompanied minors were arrested in Paris and the inner suburbs for common law crimes. Among them, 3,106 were referred and only 97 imprisoned.

For the Olympic Games, fifteen million tourists are expected in Paris, flights are likely to increase in these areas. To protect yourself, the police recommend carrying a bag or pouch in the front and not in the back.

Do not put your cell phone in your pocket but in a bag or closed pocket. Do not leave valuable items on the table on a terrace in a restaurant. You can print your identity documents for added security. And above all, be extra vigilant.