Beware of professional pickpockets in Europe

By David Tykol
This item appears on page 2 of the August 2014 issue.
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Dear Globetrotter:

Welcome to the 462nd issue of your monthly foreign-travel magazine, the original travelers’ forum.

If you’re seeing a copy of ITN for the first time, here’s the concept of the magazine: travelers share with others their experiences, observations and opinions — both positive and negative — regarding travel firms, destinations and travel in general.

The Samuel Beckett Bridge over the River Liffey joins Guild Street on the north bank to Sir John Rogerson’s Quay on the south — Dublin, Ireland. Photo ©Laurentiu Iordache/123rf.com

In addition to articles by staff and a handful of columnists, ITN prints articles and letters from subscribers only, covering destinations outside of the US.

If you come across in this issue one travel tip that can make your next journey go more smoothly or you discover an innovative tour operator you weren’t aware existed or someone’s adventure sparks an interest in your visiting a particular destination, then consider the value of that knowledge. If it saves you time, money or trouble or if it’s something that ends up leading to a fond memory, is it worth $24?

That’s how much it costs for a year’s subscription to ITN. It’s less than the price of a couple movie tickets plus snacks and drinks, only, with ITN, an all-new issue will arrive at your home each of the next 12 months. Try using your torn movie ticket again the next night.

Read through this issue, ask yourself if you learned anything or were at all entertained, and then see page 9.

Once you become a subscriber, you’re invited to share your own adventures and things you’ve learned while traveling. ITN is an ongoing group project.

In addition to travelers’ accounts, news is presented in each issue, such as the following.

 

In France, particularly in Paris, crime against tourists rose dramatically in 2013, especially against visitors from Asian countries. The problem became so bad that on April 10, 2013, 200 employees of the Louvre went on strike to protest what they described as a “small army of pickpockets” taking over the museum, targeting both visitors and employees.

Due to efforts by the Paris police, reports of pickpocketing in the tourist sectors dropped by at least 10%, and at the Louvre by 44%, by the end of 2013.

Emboldened by their success, Parisian police have increased their efforts in 2014, including adding a brigade of 25 officers to patrol on public transport, around hotels and in seven major tourist locations, including the Champs-Élysées, the Latin Quarter and places where people embark and disembark Seine cruises.

Many of the incidents of pickpocketing have been blamed on transient Roma, or “Gypsies,” from Romania and Bulgaria who have set up camps in the outskirts of Paris and, in some cases, in public parks and squares. Roma in Paris, including women and children, have also been accused of aggressive begging around ATMs and banks and blamed for some muggings and burglaries.

Efforts by the government to raze Roma camps and deport the occupants have led to protests from human rights groups, who point out that Roma are European Union citizens with a right to live and work in France.

In Dublin, Ireland, police accused a large group of Roma who arrived in April 2014 for an increase in pickpocketing in the city. According to Dublin police, they were members of two gangs of professional thieves who travel to different tourist destinations within the EU. In Dublin, reportedly, the thieves often targeted people looking at tourist maps. 

More than 30 Roma were arrested in the city in April and May. Stolen mobile phones, laptops and other valuables were among items recovered. Of those arrested, each gave the same home address, a house that Dublin police said has been used as a center for Roma gangs for years.

 

Regarding a completely different subject of interest to travelers, the 2014 World Architecture Festival will be held Oct. 1-3 at Marina Bay Sands resort in Singapore. 

Each year, judges critique nominated buildings finished that year, plus plans for future buildings, in more than 30 building categories, including Culture, Religion, Shopping and Transport. A winner is chosen in each category, and one winner is then named World Building of the Year.

2013’s overall winner, which also won the Culture category, was the Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Ta¯maki (phone +64 9379 1349, www.aucklandartgallery.com) in Auckland, New Zealand. It was designed to mimic natural forms, with the large wooden awning over its entrance inspired by a nearby canopy of pohutukawa trees. 

The museum sits at the corner of Kitchener and Wellesley streets at Albert Park, just northwest of the University of Auckland. The largest art institution in New Zealand, it houses more than 15,000 works, including Maori and Pacific Islander artwork.

The winner in the Transport category was White Bay Cruise Terminal (www.whitebay5.com.au) in Rozelle, a suburb of Sydney, Australia, with access via James Craig Road.

The terminal was built using an existing gantry crane structure that once served Sydney’s shipping industry. It sports wide windows facing the Sydney skyline and is an impressive start or end to a cruise.

Looking forward, the China National Maritime Museum design won Future Project of the Year in 2013. Construction on the museum, which will be built partially over the water, is to begin in September 2014 in Tianjin, near Beijing, and it is expected to be finished before the end of 2015.

This year’s winners will be announced after Oct. 3; visit www.worldarchitecturefestival.com. To see pictures of past entries and winners, with building descriptions written by the architects, visit www.worldbuildingsdirectory.com, where you can search by year, country and category. 

The 2012 World Building of the Year winner was Gardens by the Bay (18 Marina Gardens Dr., Singapore; phone +65 6420 6848, www.gardens
bythebay.com.sg)
. I happened to include a photograph of part of these gardens in the heading of this column in the June issue. 

 

Well, this is embarrassing. ITN carelessly misspelled the names of two writers in last month’s issue!

The author of the Feature Article “The Right Agent Makes All the Difference on a Trip Down Under” (page 32) was Jeanette Mell of Menlo Park, California.

And one of the winners of the essay contest on the topic “It’s Italy” was Jeanine Healey of Naples, Florida. 

I have apologized to both Jeanette and Jeanine, each of whom was quite gracious as well as excited to see their writings in print.

ITN editors have added an extra step in our proofreading procedures to try to keep this from happening again.

 

Having traveled in Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and Libya recently, Neil J. Pollack of Arlington, Virginia, has now visited all 196 entries on The ITN Official List of Nations. He applied for the All of Asia Travel Award, introduced in our May 2014 issue, and wrote, “I have all of the ITN Travel Awards but one, the ‘all-UK award,’ which I will apply for after a trip in May-June.

Stephen D. Warner of Tampa, Florida, wrote, “I received the new ITN All of Asia Travel Award certificate in the mail today. Thank you. It’s a real honey. I really like it.”

He added, “As a longtime subscriber to ITN, I also want to say these travel awards are special and inspirational. With the All of Asia award and my recent acquisition of the Visited All of Africa Award, I am now the proud holder of ALL of the ITN Travel Award certificates, with the exception of the Six Continents Award (since the Traveled to All the Continents Award covers that).

“A few years ago, I sent in the suggestion that ITN offer an ‘all Caribbean island nations award,’ an idea which ITN adopted, producing the Caribbean X Award. 

“Please keep up the great work. Next to National Geographic magazine, I consider ITN to be the best travel resource document today.”

 

Longtime subscriber Frank Lamson-Scribner of New Smyrna Beach, Florida, is making an offer: “I have myasthenia gravis and won’t be traveling. I also have maybe a 6-foot pile of most all issues of ITN over about 10 years piled near my front door. Any ideas on who might like them?

“Given boxes, I can put up to 20 pounds in each and take them to (or call for pickup from) UPS, FedEx or the post office. I don’t want to incur much expense.

“Our little libraries here have no space. I thought if any colleges offered courses in travel, these might be of interest. If so or if you’re interested, call me at 386/423-7902 or email lamson25@live.com.

 

There are subscribers who have purchased ITN subscriptions for their local libraries. If you’d like to start delivery of ITN to your local branch… or teachers’ lounge or hair salon or dentist’s office… visit our website, www.intltravelnews.com, and click on “Subscribe” or call, toll-free, 800/486-4968. Spread the word.    — DT

Please login or subscribe to ITN to read the entire post.

Dear Globetrotter:

Welcome to the 462nd issue of your monthly foreign-travel magazine, the original travelers’ forum.

If you’re seeing a copy of ITN for the first time, here’s the concept of the magazine: travelers share with others their experiences, observations and opinions — both positive and negative — regarding travel firms, destinations and travel in general.

The Samuel Beckett Bridge over the River Liffey joins Guild Street on the north bank to Sir John Rogerson’s Quay on the south — Dublin, Ireland. Photo ©Laurentiu Iordache/123rf.com

In addition to articles by staff and a handful of columnists, ITN prints articles and letters from subscribers only, covering destinations outside of the US.

If you come across in this issue one travel tip that can make your next journey go more smoothly or you discover an innovative tour operator you weren’t aware existed or someone’s adventure sparks an interest in your visiting a particular destination, then consider the value of that knowledge. If it saves you time, money or trouble or if it’s something that ends up leading to a fond memory, is it worth $24?

That’s how much it costs for a year’s subscription to ITN. It’s less than the price of a couple movie tickets plus snacks and drinks, only, with ITN, an all-new issue will arrive at your home each of the next 12 months. Try using your torn movie ticket again the next night.

Read through this issue, ask yourself if you learned anything or were at all entertained, and then see page 9.

Once you become a subscriber, you’re invited to share your own adventures and things you’ve learned while traveling. ITN is an ongoing group project.

In addition to travelers’ accounts, news is presented in each issue, such as the following.

 

In France, particularly in Paris, crime against tourists rose dramatically in 2013, especially against visitors from Asian countries. The problem became so bad that on April 10, 2013, 200 employees of the Louvre went on strike to protest what they described as a “small army of pickpockets” taking over the museum, targeting both visitors and employees.

Due to efforts by the Paris police, reports of pickpocketing in the tourist sectors dropped by at least 10%, and at the Louvre by 44%, by the end of 2013.

Emboldened by their success, Parisian police have increased their efforts in 2014, including adding a brigade of 25 officers to patrol on public transport, around hotels and in seven major tourist locations, including the Champs-Élysées, the Latin Quarter and places where people embark and disembark Seine cruises.

Many of the incidents of pickpocketing have been blamed on transient Roma, or “Gypsies,” from Romania and Bulgaria who have set up camps in the outskirts of Paris and, in some cases, in public parks and squares. Roma in Paris, including women and children, have also been accused of aggressive begging around ATMs and banks and blamed for some muggings and burglaries.

Efforts by the government to raze Roma camps and deport the occupants have led to protests from human rights groups, who point out that Roma are European Union citizens with a right to live and work in France.

In Dublin, Ireland, police accused a large group of Roma who arrived in April 2014 for an increase in pickpocketing in the city. According to Dublin police, they were members of two gangs of professional thieves who travel to different tourist destinations within the EU. In Dublin, reportedly, the thieves often targeted people looking at tourist maps. 

More than 30 Roma were arrested in the city in April and May. Stolen mobile phones, laptops and other valuables were among items recovered. Of those arrested, each gave the same home address, a house that Dublin police said has been used as a center for Roma gangs for years.

 

Regarding a completely different subject of interest to travelers, the 2014 World Architecture Festival will be held Oct. 1-3 at Marina Bay Sands resort in Singapore. 

Each year, judges critique nominated buildings finished that year, plus plans for future buildings, in more than 30 building categories, including Culture, Religion, Shopping and Transport. A winner is chosen in each category, and one winner is then named World Building of the Year.

2013’s overall winner, which also won the Culture category, was the Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Ta¯maki (phone +64 9379 1349, www.aucklandartgallery.com) in Auckland, New Zealand. It was designed to mimic natural forms, with the large wooden awning over its entrance inspired by a nearby canopy of pohutukawa trees. 

The museum sits at the corner of Kitchener and Wellesley streets at Albert Park, just northwest of the University of Auckland. The largest art institution in New Zealand, it houses more than 15,000 works, including Maori and Pacific Islander artwork.

The winner in the Transport category was White Bay Cruise Terminal (www.whitebay5.com.au) in Rozelle, a suburb of Sydney, Australia, with access via James Craig Road.

The terminal was built using an existing gantry crane structure that once served Sydney’s shipping industry. It sports wide windows facing the Sydney skyline and is an impressive start or end to a cruise.

Looking forward, the China National Maritime Museum design won Future Project of the Year in 2013. Construction on the museum, which will be built partially over the water, is to begin in September 2014 in Tianjin, near Beijing, and it is expected to be finished before the end of 2015.

This year’s winners will be announced after Oct. 3; visit www.worldarchitecturefestival.com. To see pictures of past entries and winners, with building descriptions written by the architects, visit www.worldbuildingsdirectory.com, where you can search by year, country and category. 

The 2012 World Building of the Year winner was Gardens by the Bay (18 Marina Gardens Dr., Singapore; phone +65 6420 6848, www.gardens
bythebay.com.sg)
. I happened to include a photograph of part of these gardens in the heading of this column in the June issue. 

 

Well, this is embarrassing. ITN carelessly misspelled the names of two writers in last month’s issue!

The author of the Feature Article “The Right Agent Makes All the Difference on a Trip Down Under” (page 32) was Jeanette Mell of Menlo Park, California.

And one of the winners of the essay contest on the topic “It’s Italy” was Jeanine Healey of Naples, Florida. 

I have apologized to both Jeanette and Jeanine, each of whom was quite gracious as well as excited to see their writings in print.

ITN editors have added an extra step in our proofreading procedures to try to keep this from happening again.

 

Having traveled in Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and Libya recently, Neil J. Pollack of Arlington, Virginia, has now visited all 196 entries on The ITN Official List of Nations. He applied for the All of Asia Travel Award, introduced in our May 2014 issue, and wrote, “I have all of the ITN Travel Awards but one, the ‘all-UK award,’ which I will apply for after a trip in May-June.

Stephen D. Warner of Tampa, Florida, wrote, “I received the new ITN All of Asia Travel Award certificate in the mail today. Thank you. It’s a real honey. I really like it.”

He added, “As a longtime subscriber to ITN, I also want to say these travel awards are special and inspirational. With the All of Asia award and my recent acquisition of the Visited All of Africa Award, I am now the proud holder of ALL of the ITN Travel Award certificates, with the exception of the Six Continents Award (since the Traveled to All the Continents Award covers that).

“A few years ago, I sent in the suggestion that ITN offer an ‘all Caribbean island nations award,’ an idea which ITN adopted, producing the Caribbean X Award. 

“Please keep up the great work. Next to National Geographic magazine, I consider ITN to be the best travel resource document today.”

 

Longtime subscriber Frank Lamson-Scribner of New Smyrna Beach, Florida, is making an offer: “I have myasthenia gravis and won’t be traveling. I also have maybe a 6-foot pile of most all issues of ITN over about 10 years piled near my front door. Any ideas on who might like them?

“Given boxes, I can put up to 20 pounds in each and take them to (or call for pickup from) UPS, FedEx or the post office. I don’t want to incur much expense.

“Our little libraries here have no space. I thought if any colleges offered courses in travel, these might be of interest. If so or if you’re interested, call me at 386/423-7902 or email lamson25@live.com.

 

There are subscribers who have purchased ITN subscriptions for their local libraries. If you’d like to start delivery of ITN to your local branch… or teachers’ lounge or hair salon or dentist’s office… visit our website, www.intltravelnews.com, and click on “Subscribe” or call, toll-free, 800/486-4968. Spread the word.    — DT