Greece Travel Blog
4/30/2010 Carrboro, NC
Defeating the Pick-Pockets
I have come to the conclusion that I will probably not be able to save the Greek economy this year except to let people know that tourism in Greece this summer should not be affected beyond the usual strikes and demonstrations which occur anyway but are now big news. I have been getting e-mails daily about it and have come up with a few one liner replies that I hope will reassure people who ask if they will be affected by the ecomomic turmoil in Greece like:
"Only if you are a 57 year old Greek planning on retiring this year"
Most people are going ahead with their trip as they should since even the NY Times said this could be the best year to travel in Greece for Americans while the strength of the Euro plummets and our dollars start looking pretty good.
So with tourism looking reasonably OK and the politicians, bankers and unions working out the financial mess I decided to find a solution to the problem of pick-pockets on the metro and trolley buses in Athens which had been keeping me up at night ever since my brother had his wallet stolen twice in one week (while pushing his daughter a stroller.... is nothing sacred anymore?).
First of all you have to accept that pickpockets exist in any city and if you seem like a victim they will find you. So the key is to make them the victim by you only appearing to be a victim. Here's how it works.
Eagle Creek makes several undercover security products, two that I like in particular. One is called the Undercover Hidden Pocket(Item # 40024) and it has a loop that fits around your belt and you wear it under your pants or skirt or shorts in the area that is the most sensitive to touch which for the man is the.... well I think you understand. Another product that I liked that my local trail shop was out of is a wallet that goes on your ankle under your socks and pants which is certainly pickpocket proof unless the culprit has no arms or legs and is crawling around the floor of the metro which I can't recall ever seeing and therefore must be somewhat rare. Anyway you can find these products at the Eagle Creek website which is www.eaglecreek.com and just click on the Security and ID page.
But here is where it gets good. Before your trip to Greece buy a few cheap wallets, or the old wallets that you never threw away and fill them up with those fake credit card's you get with the offers that come in the mail that are not really credit cards, as well as expired super-market discount cards, all the crap you get in the mail and usually just throw out. Put them in the wallet and maybe start cutting out pictures in the magazines of weird things, stuff that freaks you out when you see it, victims of horrible accidents, tumors, terrible wounds, and whatever you can find that you think is unpleasant. Put all this stuff in the fake wallet. You can even put a note in for him to read. I have made up a printable happy-face you can also use to further antagonize him. (click here)
So what you have is a decoy wallet and you want it to make a bulge in your pants so it looks like it is full of money and credit cards. Ladies can do this too and make sure it is at the top of any purse or handbag. The pickpocket is going to go through a lot of effort to get it and when he leaves the train with your wallet and gets nothing for his efforts but a bunch of fake credit cards and scary photos he is going to be very annoyed if not completely freaked out especially if it happens more than once. Your reward everytime one of your decoy wallets is missing is that you will know that you just made some thief very pissed off, thwarted a crime, and you still have all your money and credit cards.
So if you use the decoy wallet trick and your wallet is stolen you can thank me.
Have fun collecting the stuff to put in it. Let me know if it works.
And for the ladies how about a mousetrap in your purse? This is from a reader:
I wanted to ask if you had ever been pick-pocketed of your fake wallet? A friend of mind put a mouse trap in a purse with a zipper and went into a tram in Athens looking for a victim and indeed she quickly found one who came away screaming in pain. She is Greek-American and also very loud and unashamed to scream at the guy which she did....everyone on the car started laughing and she told him not to rob Americans, because they bring money to Greece as tourists, etc when he was saying he thought she was American and they only rob Americans....