You may find many signs in Prague, such as: “Be aware of pick-pockets”, and even warnings against car raids: “Do not leave valuables on the seat.” For example, last year, half of all pocket-picking cases in the Czech Republic were in Prague. Local pick-pocket gangs, that often come from different countries, have very tricky methods for dispersing the victims. These methods even include kids with innocent faces. Typical places where those thefts happen are Wenceslas Square and Old Town Square.
Despite the above-mentioned risks, it is still worth visiting those places (and others). You just need to take as many precautions as possible: in particular, dress like a local, not like a tourist.
The odds are in your favor that your pockets will not be picked. The chances are still small that you should not even worry about it. Use common sense—don’t have a hundred-dollar bill dangling from your back pocket and you will be fine.
Tourists are easily spotted, and they are easily distracted. Tourist’s eyeballs are everywhere other than around their own bodies. All their attention is on the slightest distraction (a monkey playing a clarinet) while completely ignoring the stranger’s hand in their pants.
Of course, you are smarter than that. You will be careful and alert, and anybody within a one-meter radius will be suspect; you will watch them closely. That is what everybody thinks, yet pickpocketing still occurs.
If you do get robbed it’s your own fault – you weren’t paying attention – you were being a tourist. Would it be strange in your home town if somebody suddenly grabbed you by the arm and started dancing with you – of course it would. But in Prague, not knowing any better, you might think it is normal and that mistake will cost you your wallet.
Insurance and Other Precautions
Choose travel insurance. A money belt might not be comfortable, but it is a safe place where you can store your valuables. Do not take out your wallet in public, and if you have to have a purse, have it as close to your body as possible. Be cautious, especially in crowded places – trains, buses, in the underground. Write down your IMEI number and the serial number of your laptop. Even if the police won’t find anything, it is important to report the theft.