Did you know that pickpocketing and stealing are Prague’s most common crimes? This is a known fact to the locals, but not to the tourists. Most crimes occur during daylight, when you would least expect it. It is also a very common knowledge that there is one ethnic group in particular that prays on innocent tourists. They usually work in groups to create distractions. You walk down the street, all of the sudden you see a commotion around you, i.e. a couple arguing, you lose situational awareness and a few seconds later, your wallet is gone. Sadly, often it is their children who are trained to do the dirty work of actually stealing your money, while the adults work the area around you. When the locals see them coming, they cross the street or stay out of their way. My mom was personally attacked as she was getting on a bus. She was pushed in by a few females who were trying to get her out of balance. Luckily, my mom knew exactly what was happening. She immediately reached for her purse only to find out one of the women had already been unzipping it. My Mom pushed her out of the bus and started screaming “thief, thief”. Today, I am laughing as I am writing the story, because I know my Mom was safe and nothing was taken. It is, however, a very real story that may happen to anyone who is not educated about these kind of things and doesn’t see them coming.

Because this is a very sensitive issue in the Czech Republic and nobody wants to admit it or talk about it, I reached out to my friends and asked them if they ever experienced anything bad happening to them while in Prague. I wanted to make sure I provide you with the most unbiased story. One of them just recently visited Prague and wrote me back with a familiar story. He wrote: ” I have a lot to tell you…  First of all beware of this group in the train station.  They will steal bags right out of your hand.  Their kids are the worst, you don’t even see them coming.” Then he continued :”Watch for pickpockets on the subways or buses.  They are usually older men who don’t look like they would be pick pockets, but they’re pros.”

Prague’s pickpockets are highly skilled professionals and the only way you can prevent being robbed is being a few steps ahead of them. Czech police probably won’t do much to help you if you’re robbed (nothing uncommon around the world) so prevention is your best protection.

Here are some tips to help you avoid becoming a victim of a pickpocket.

  • Be smart. Don’t open your wallet in public so that everyone around you can see what’s in it, or how much is in it.
  • Don’t put your money and important documents in your fanny bags. It’s an open invitation.
  • Don’t put your money and important documents in small purses you carry over your shoulder. It can be snatched and you won’t even register it.
  • Hide your cash, passport and any other important documents in the inside pockets of your jacket.
  • Make copies of all your travel documents, carry your passport only, leave the rest in the hotel safe.
  • If you have to take out money, find an ATM that is located inside a bank.
  • Don’t ever leave your personal belongings unattended. Always make sure somebody in your party is watching them.

Knowledge and situational awareness is absolutely the key to avoid a possibly stressful end to your vacation. Prague is an amazing city that has a lot of offer! Make the best of it and be smarter than them!