Pickpockets, Amsterdam

86 Reviews

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  • Pickpockets
    by lina112
  • Crowded Dam Square
    Crowded Dam Square
    by ophiro
  • Pickpockets
    by nicolaitan
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    Petty Crime Against Tourists

    by nicolaitan Updated Jun 1, 2013

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    In the time it took my beloved Proserpina to raise her chipcard and swipe it while exiting the 2 tram, a pickpocket accessed her zipped and momentarilly not tightly clutched pocketbook and made off with her wallet and a pair of designer sunglasses. One swipe, two seconds, out the open door, and gone - an olympic class sprinter.

    An immediate trip to the police station was a good idea - an attempt was made to use one of her two credit cards within hours of the theft. Fortunately, the kind and efficient desk officer personally called both credit card companies himself and put a hold on the cards, so no further damage.

    Our official report was taken by a young female officer working overtime to process all the minor crimes of the day. Visibly exhausted, she spoke with us as she typed. It appears that the Amsterdam police will make no effort whatsoever to prevent minor tourist-oriented crime much less to apprehend the miscreants, all of whom are well known. There are simply not enough police officers nor hours in the day. Well aware, the assorted pickpockets are increasing their activities with no fear of arrest, much less punishment. Depressing, realistic. Forewarned for the future - no pocketbooks, no jewelry, no nothing.

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  • Never let your guard down in Amsterdam

    by travelbird15 Written Apr 4, 2013

    I was traveling around Europe with my family and despite umpteen warnings from close friends, i got pick pocketed in Amsterdam. Amsterdam was my last stop and i thought we were lucky that nothing happened throughout the entire trip. We were in a shoe shop (Sacha shoes) in Amsterdam and while my sister was trying out the shoes i was just sitting there with my bag behind me. There were quite a lot of people in the shop and i totally let my guard down. I was just sitting there waiting for my sister to be done. Until one of the girls working in the shop asked if the glove on the floor belonged to me. Bewildered, because i never used it and i remember keeping it in my bag. I realized my bag was left open and my wallet is gone. Everything happened in an instant and i didn't even feel anything. There was a woman trying on shoes sitting behind me and she kept getting closer to me but i moved away. I guess at that instant she could have already took my wallet and went away. Never let your guard down even if you're with family in a shop or walking along the streets or in a hotel. These crafty pick pockets are everywhere. I got to make a police report in Amsterdam but the shop keeper and the policemen said such things happen very frequently in Amsterdam. Whether in shops or restaurants and even hotel lobbies. You really got to be very careful, carry your bag in front of you, guard your things and always always be wary of the people around you. Too bad for me, it was gone.

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    Amsterdam Central

    by WeiBertJ Written Jan 28, 2013

    Just got out of a small restaurant near by Gauchos Grillre around 7pm (Nearby Amsterdam Central) and some man claimed to be a Dutch came up behind me and my colleague yelling some racial slur (We are Asian). We tried to walked away when he started demanding money from us and threaten to have his people come after us if we do not cooperate. Luckily we were able to walked away without getting hurt. The person is white, around 5'10, skinny build and appears to be a bit drunk. People traveling in this area please be careful.

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    by ophiro Written Mar 26, 2011

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    when i traveled around the city it looked safe although a lot of people told me to avoid small alleys and red light district area during the night.
    Always watch your stuff , bag , wallet.

    There a lot of crowded streets , Dam area , Shopping areas , markets , Red light district.

    Crowded Dam Square

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    by lina112 Written Mar 14, 2011

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    Like most of big cities, in Amsterdam there are pickpockets, they use to be near the main sites. Ámsterdam is not a dangerous city but if you need the police or you have an emergency dial 112 is the emergency number.

    Como en la mayoría de grandes ciudades en Amsterdam también hay carteristas, suelen estar cerca de las principales atracciones turisticas. Si necesitas la policia o tienes emergencia solo tienes que marcar el 112 que es el num de emergencias.

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    by pieter_jan_v Updated Jan 3, 2010

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    There are Pickpockets! (also in the public transportation).

    In the main shopping streets you are warned (see picture).

    The top 5 pickpocket trics:

    1) Cover. You will be surrounded by a group to cover the crime, using newspapers, coats etc. to cover the actual happening.

    2) Broken glasses. Somebody drops glasses on the ground and steps on it. You will be accused and in the events that follow you will be pick-pocketed.

    3) Back-to-Back. Very popular in Hamburger restaurants. While your coat is hanging on your chair and you finally start enjoying your food, the person that sits back-to-back with you starts his search.

    4) Stain. Somebody stains your coat and offers to clean it. The moment you give your coat away..... well you get the picture.

    5) Peeking at the ATM. Cover the keyboard when you punch in your pincode.

    Besides these 5 there were cases people personating as fake policeman and asking for pasports and more.

    Be aware!

    Recent Amsterdam crimes map

    A safer Amsterdam

    Warning sign Nieuwendijk warning banner Crpwded Amsterdam Alley (Stoofsteeg) 2007 Pickpocketcrimes map Pickpocket #1000 of 2011
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    Fake policemen with fake police id's

    by 75Antonio Written Feb 11, 2009

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Some time ago i was walking in the streets with my father and two cousins and suddenly a guy was asking me for directions and i just refused beacuse i noticed he wasn't a real tourist. My father told me not to be rude with him and i stopped walking when two other guys approched to us and told us they were police and aks us to show teh money we had in our pokets, so when one of them showed us his id i realized it was an french id ( by the time i was living in France) and told my relatives to show only the travelers cheques because they didn't speak english so i don't know what happened but they left and so we realized they were robbers and later i spoke with a police woman and told that it happens.We were lucky not to be robbed.So beware when someone asks you something and if you do see if there aren't others around observing you and ready to act when you are distracted.

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    safety in using ATM machine

    by simonli625 Written Nov 21, 2008

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    Yeah. I agree! I have used the ATM machine in Amsterdam Central many many times and I never worried too much. There is always police around. But I think in general it is just common sense.

    Cover your hand when you input your pin number. Take only what you need for a day or two and don't take too much. (like more than 150 euros). Don't count your money in the public place. Put your wallet in a safe place.

    It is nicer to have smaller bills in Amsterdam than 50 euros bill as they always asked you whether you have smaller changes for your small purchase.

    I think you need to be cautious in most tourist city. Most of the theft is coming from out of town/countries and they are gathered at the touristy area.
    My friend's wallet was stolen while she was shopping in a souvenir shop and someone try to grab my friend's carry-on when he was taking the train from the airport to Amsterdam.

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  • Amsterdam. Vehicle Robbery

    by chataugua Written Sep 2, 2008

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    If you are driving into Amsterdam, be EXTREMELY cautious. Lock all doors even when in immediate vicinity, don't keep any valuables within easy reach or particularly in trunk.

    I was there this past weekend, had just arrived in town, got out of van w/wife and children still in the car to walk one block to check a hotel. The area looked safe, was in full view next to a boat tour dock. My wife got out of car to rearrange some things in the back of the van, shut the trunk and got back in the car. As she was getting in the car, an asian person(my wife is asian, this is descriptive, not intended to be aiming at race) opened the trunk. My wife thought the trunk had not been thoroughly closed, got out of the car to tell him to leave. As she was trying to get him away, another person grabbed her purse out of the front seat. Fortunately passports were in a different location and fortunately I had more cash in my wallet than I usually do, but all credit cards were worthless and bulk of our cash was gone.

    Police were extremely courteous, allowed us to cancel all credit cards from their phone. BUT, they were misinformed, telling us that there was an agency in Amsterdam that took care of people where this happens, helping with lodging and more. They got us to the agency, but all this agency will do for you is let you use the phone to contact someone to wire you money.

    The warnings: The police advised me that there is a very sophisticated (and common) theft ring in Amsterdam aimed at travelers in vehicles. They can tell tourists based on license plates, will first go for the trunk of the car as this is where most people keep their valuables, plus they work in teams. They will routinely break out windows, etc. to get into vehicles. Keep all doors locked, all valuables in difficult to get to places, and park only in paid parking garages, etc. where there is security.

    I have been in many countries and in many situations, so my internal radar is usually pretty tuned. Amsterdam caught me completely by surprise. I don't think there is a lot of violence, but this is one place where you better be ULTRA careful with protecting your critical documents, cash, etc. The sad part of all of this is that my six year old triplets have never had anything like this happen to them and it is something they won't forget.

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    by susanandrews Written Aug 20, 2008

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    Don't stand near a door of a tram (especially at the back) and get carried away with the scenery. My purse was stolen and they jumped out of the tram when the doors opened and fled. This is a very common occurence. I lived in Amsterdam for 10 years and on one of these occasions my passport was stolen

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  • AmsterScam

    by dadog Written Jun 12, 2008

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    I live in NYC and Amsterdam.
    The dangers in Amsterdam are plentiful but easily avoided:
    The best way I've found to deal with "dealers" is to say "no thanks," or simply ignore them.
    They don't hassle you if you "look local" - look around you for clues
    - grow a beard
    - dress down when out at night
    - don't get cased by flashing jewelry or cash
    - buy a local cel phone (they're cheap,) program in numbers for hotel, taxis, and the (always tardy) police
    - pretend you're using it if you feel in danger or you're being followed
    - take out small amounts of money from the wall, use a money clip and put it in your pocket
    - just keep your id or passport on you at all times
    - plan your route, don't pull out a map
    - when in doubt, pretend you know where you're going or hail a cab
    - pickpockets are everywhere and usually easy to spot, I'll avoid the stereotype
    - don't get wasted and roam about aimlessly in obviously questionable areas

    Amsterdam is safe and the people are nice, so be nice back.
    It's easy to want to believe that they all have good intentions, but keep a calm guard about you.
    People of all types flock there in the warmer months so know your spot.
    There is some anti-American sentiment, so avoid politics at the bar, it only leads to a fight.

    I hate to say it, but if asked where you're from, tell them a big city you're somewhat familiar with, they think we've seen it all and scam artists are less likely to try and gain your confidence.

    Know that all these street scams are done in groups of 2-6 - they know the streets and the locals - and I wouldn't be writing this if my own street smarts haven't been tested. Stand back and take a look so you can watch it happen, especially in the RLD at night.

    Don't bring tons of bags back from a store. Have it sent over or take a cab back.
    The only danger in Amsterdam are the pickpockets and drug dealers.
    Don't harass them or let them lead you into dark alleys - that's a good way to get mugged.

    In general be cool, stand your ground, blend in, have an incredible time, stay safe, and don't be an obvious tourist.
    You're sure to have a great vacation, there's really nothing to worry about. But the police are a laughing stock and intimidate nobody. If they catch you buying drugs, you're in for it, and if they don't, it's almost a sure bet you'll get beat, hopefully not hospitalized. I've seen it SO many times. Just think about it...is any street a wise place to buy or sell drugs? If it's not legal in Amsterdam, don't buy it.

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  • danmcf's Profile Photo

    Finally became a 'victim'

    by danmcf Updated May 16, 2008

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    After 7 trips to Amsterdam, & several other European cities as well, I finally got pickpocketed.

    It happened Queens Night, while boarding an extremely crowded Tram from the Dam to Leidseplein. I distinctly felt a hand enter my right front pocket, and just as rapidly leave. I immediately announced that I had just been pickpocketed, but that the jerk will be disappointed because all he got was a useless (to him) hotel keycard. He didn't bother with the coffeeshop product in the same pocket though. He evidently thought he was getting a credit card of some sort.

    You've gotta' be smarter than the pickpockets though. He could have emptied any of my pants pockets and still would have come up with nothing. When traveling in these type situations I where a pocketed T-shirt (for my wallet; which, on this day, also included an extra hotel keycard) under an overshirt; & a moneybelt for other valuable necessities (passport, extra cards, cash, etc). I also choose coats & jackets with internal pockets.

    I'd suggest you do something similar.

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  • WardrobeMK's Profile Photo

    Don't be scared - just take care of your belongins

    by WardrobeMK Updated Jan 19, 2008

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    I scared myself silly by reading several horror stories in Virtual Tourist and other webguides about pickpockets and junkies in Amsterdam. The tales varied from being robbed the minute they stepped off the plane to being mugged on the train into town to being attacked while in the city- during the day.

    I think these people have been very very unlucky or have been acting like idiots.

    I just spent the weekend in Amsterdam and saw ONE guy who was clearly off his head and he was at the Centraal Station. Other than I didn't feel scared or worried in any way. The coffee shops were full but there was no rowdy or unpleasant behaviour. Even at night, there was no drunk or loud people anywhere.

    If you keep your wits about i.e don't leave your wallet hanging out of your back pocket or your rucksack/handbag open/on a table where it's easy to grab from or wander around aimlessly with a map looking lost, you'll be fine. If you don't like the feel of the situation or a group of people around, move away. Even if you ARE lost, go somewhere where you feel safe, like a cafe, and get your bearings.

    It's like in any big city- use your head. Don't have loads of money and your passport with you, leave them/it at the hotel. Should you be unlucky have a number to cancel your credit cards handy. Find out where the nearest police station is (normally marked in a map) should you need to go there.

    If you do take your cards/more money with you, put them in a moneywallet under your shirt. You might think you'll look like an "old man tourist" but you don't. I had one and they're very thin, so even with a tight top it doesn't look silly.

    Also this goes without saying but don't wander around dark streets by yourself at night or when you're drunk even with company. Get a taxi.

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  • Watch your wallet at baggage claim

    by photoLINY Written Nov 20, 2007

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    I had the wallet out of my back pocket taken at baggage claim, right off the plane. The baggage carousel is the perfect place for pickpockets since people are pushing into you, your attention is focused on finding your bags, you are leaning forward... As it happened, someone came up next to me at the carousel, turned around and shoved me while telling me to watch myself. It wasn't until half an hour later that I realized my wallet was gone with two trillion dollars in it. Yes, thanks to other reader tips I put a decoy wallet in my back pocket before heading to Amsterdam. Good luck trying to cash those trillion dollar bills. If you're reading this, you got burned. By the way, those credit cards are about as real as those trillion dollar bills! And, I've got two more fake wallets with me. Sucker.

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    Be wary, but not paranoid :-p

    by Bushman23 Written Sep 27, 2007

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    One of the first things we were warned about on our arrival was the multitude of pickpockets and bag snatchers on the prowl. Luckily for us, we had no problems while we were here, but all it takes is a bit of intelligence. leave your real valuables at home! :-p
    Seriously, Amsterdam is no worse than any other big city, you always need to be slightly cautious!

    It's not that bad... just be careful
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