Pick-pockets in Athens
Yesterday Andrea and I took the trolley down to Syntagma where we caught the metro to Gazi. It seemed like every young person in Athens was on their way down there and the trains and platforms were full. As usual when I use the metro I had my cell phone in my hand and everything else in my left front pocket which had my other hand in it. All my other pockets were empty. I have never been pick-pocketed in my life and until this year I have never
known anyone who
has been pick-pocketed. But that changed very quickly.
The first theft I wrote about on this blog sometime in the fall. I would look back and try to find it but I don't want to lose my train of thought so I will just tell you what happened again. I was on a trolley going downtown and at Akadamias two immigrants stumble onto the bus, falling into several people. One asks if this is the bus to Egalion and everyone on the bus says no in unison. The other immigrant pulls the first one off the bus. A woman next
to me says
to one of the women who had been jostled to look in her handbag. Sure enough they had snatched her purse. She stopped the bus and ran after them but we all knew she would never catch them. A week later we were walking with our friend George in our old neighborhood of Psyhico, which is a heavily patrolled area of embassies and rich people. As we passed one of the many private security jeeps that are common in the area George remarked that the good thing about Psyhico was that we would never get robbed.
No sooner had the words left his mouth than a motorbike came from nowhere and the guy on it snatched the bag that George carries around with him that contains credit cards, keys, money and other valuables.
Since then my daughter has had her wallet stolen from her backpack on the metro, Andrea had her cell phone stolen on a trolley and my brother in the space of one week was pick-pocketed twice. Once they managed to get cash out of his wallet without taking his wallet from his back pocket. He actually thought they had taken his wallet out of his pocket taken 300 euros and left him 50, but I told him it was unlikely they would risk getting caught putting
a wallet back
and more likely the bills were sticking out and they were deft enough to remove them without him noticing. My brother learned his lesson and next time he was on the metro put his wallet in the front thigh pocket of his cargo pants. It did not matter. They got him again.
When someone you know gets robbed twice in a few days then you have to come to the conclusion that there is an epidemic of pick-pocketing going on. But you also have to accept that when you get pickpocketed it is as much your own fault if you know that there is a possibility of this happening. If you have your cell phone in one hand, and your wallet in your pocket with your hand in it, nobody can steal from you. You are not a target because pickpocket
for the easy targets which are people who are unaware of their existence. So if you assume in any crowd whether you are on a bus, the metro, walking in Monastiraki square or even climbing the steps to the Acropolis, that there is someone in that crowd that wants to steal your wallet or valuables, and take steps to protect those valuables, they won't be taken from you.
It would certainly be easy enough for the Greek police to dress up as victims and catch these guys in the act. Will it ever happen? I don't know. But even so there will always be pickpockets in any large city and the best way to stop them is to be aware that they exist and take the steps to protect yourself.
If you know someone wants to take something from you without you knowing it, then it is impossible for them to take it.