Stay safe from Paris pickpockets with expat’s phone tips

Woman catches pickpocketer attempting to steal her wallet

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Paris is one of Europe’s top tourist destinations, but with this comes the risk of being targeted by stealthy pickpockets. Amanda Rollins, an American expat who has been living in Paris for five years, has discovered a few ways to protect against theft after having “five or six phones stolen” during her time in the French capital.

Paris was named as one of the “pickpocket hotspots” of the world in a study published by Money.co.uk last summer, with the Paris Métro and the city’s main train station Gare du Nord named as two of the worst-hit areas.

Amanda, who frequently shares social media updates about her experience as an expat on her Instagram page @americanfille, posted a video detailing her top tips for keeping your phone safe.

She said: “How to not have your phone pickpocketed while visiting Paris coming from a girl who has had five or six phones, I genuinely can’t remember at this point, stolen in Paris.

“If you don’t know me I am Amanda, an American who has been living in Paris for five years and I’ve had a lot of things stolen from me but luckily I’ve learnt how to change my behaviour on the street. I haven’t had anything stolen from me in the last three years.”

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A post shared by ᴀᴍᴀɴᴅᴀ ʀᴏʟʟɪɴs (@americanfille)

She continued: “Rule number one, your phone does not go in a pocket.” While it may seem obvious, many people tend to slip their phones into their pockets for easy access while walking around the metropolis. However, Amanda says this is one of the main ways thieves target tourists.

“Literally they are called pickpockets,” she said. “It’s in the title. They’re really good at sneakily getting into your pockets without you noticing.

“Keep it locked away in a zipped bag that is facing toward you or if you’re going to keep it in your hard use a case that is silicone-based because it is sticky.”

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Alternatively, Amanda suggests getting a “durable” lanyard which attaches your mobile phone to your person. She suggests opting for one with a strong chain or handle so that the phone can not be easily snatched.

“I don’t even have to worry about where my phone is,” she said. “I can see her, she’s attached to me.” The expat said these lanyards are particularly useful when travelling on the Métro.

The Paris Métro is a key area for thieves to strike. In 2020, 54,856 people were victims of theft or violence on the RATP (the Paris transport network), which represents 25 victims per 1,000 inhabitants, according to research by Thelocal.fr.

“I will say never ever stand by the Métro doors holding your phone because this is one of the things that they do,” explained Amanda. “They will be on the platform when the Métro arrives.

“Right as the doors are closing they will reach in and snatch it out of your hand and the doors close.”

Gov.uk’s travel advice page for Britons visiting France states: “Thieves and pickpockets operate on the Paris underground, RER lines and at mainline stations, for example, Gare du Nord.

“There have been several victims of serious assault on the RER line B, which serves Paris Charles de Gaulle and Orly airports and Paris Gare du Nord Eurostar terminus. There have also been serious assaults on RER line D, which serves the Stade de France.”

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