We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

How prevalent is pickpocket at the railway station?

Zurich, Switzerland
Level Contributor
17 posts
1 review
Save Topic
How prevalent is pickpocket at the railway station?

I have just been pickpocketed on Sat at the Zurich Railway station. l lost everything ... passport, credit cards, train tickets, cash and phone. When I went to the police post to lodge a theft report so that I can apply for an exit permit to leave the country, I saw a huge Turkish tourist who has also been just pickpocketed . While filling up the police form, another tourist couple walked in. They just arrived from France by train and found that their haversack on the overhead compartment had been stolen. Like me , they lost everything, including their laptops.

When I return to the hotel and shared my unpleasant experience , I was told that another hotel guest was also pickpocketed on Fri.

I went back to the Police Post on Sunday to clarify my report. There I bump into another pickpocket victim. This time, it is a LOCAL Swiss lady

I am sharing the severity of pickpockets in Switzerland!

Another Singapore tourist

Edited: 3:59 pm, February 20, 2013
Mentioned in this post
Zurich
Zurich
Canton of Zurich, Switzerland
France
France
Europe
Hotel Cinema 8
Hotel Cinema 8
#1 of 1 Specialty lodging in Schoeftland
Greuterhof
Greuterhof
#1 of 1 Specialty lodging in Islikon
Im Sonnenbuehl
Im Sonnenbuehl
#1 of 1 Specialty lodging in Uetliberg
Anchorage, Alaska
Destination Expert
for Anchorage, Zermatt
Level Contributor
18,179 posts
9 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: How prevalent is pickpocket at the railway station?

Hi, this is the first report that I recall here on TA about pickpockets at Zurich Hauptbahnhof but it isn't surprising as there have been pickpockets at Geneva fo several years as well as at any of the smaller stations. I'm sorry you had this bad experience.

All travelers everywhere should be aware of thieves and do all they can to thwart the devils! Things like my laptop are never put in an overhead rack or left where I don't have my eyes on them. My passport and money are always in places where a thief would have to get my attention! I have a decoy bag that contains nothing important and it can be seen so would be the target.

Be careful anywhere you travel as thieving is becoming more common even on planes!

Mentioned in this post
Zurich
Zurich
Canton of Zurich, Switzerland
Hauptbahnhof
Hauptbahnhof
1,520 Reviews
Zurich, Switzerland
Geneva
Geneva
Canton of Geneva, Switzerland
Kent, England
Level Contributor
1,931 posts
Save Reply
2. Re: How prevalent is pickpocket at the railway station?

I have to say that in over 40 years of going to and through Zurich Haptbahnhof I have, (touch wood, never been pick pocketed nor have I seen it happen, I will say that I am always very aware of the crowds hanging around there and extra careful of my bag. I also saying I am well aware it can does happen and the warning is probably overdue to those of us who love Switzerland

Mentioned in this post
Zurich
Zurich
Canton of Zurich, Switzerland
Montreal, Canada
Level Contributor
4 posts
1 review
Save Reply
3. Re: How prevalent is pickpocket at the railway station?

I am the Turkish tourist, who got pickpocketed at the Zürich train station on the same day. I saw the person, who did it but couldnt catch her. When I went to the police station the police said 10 cases a day and mostly on the trains leaving for Austria (OBB trains). Do not leave anything unaccompanied on the train. Guess what a week after I returned to Zürich train station from Austria and the robber was sitting on the bench at the platform waiting for the train arriving from Austria to hurt other people. I went to the police immediately. They caught her. She was not alone, working together with her mother, who was carrying different clothings. As soon as she robs people she changes her coat or sweather. They are Romanians, who do rob on the trains. Neither Swiss Rail nor the Austrian rail company OBB nor the Swiss police takes action. The thieves are very comfortable since there is no railways rep on the trains leaving to Austria nor any police officer on the platform. They pickpocket without any risk to get caught. The Romanian ladies ofcourse denied that they were thieves. The prosecutor was going to make a decision today. I lost a lot of cash, all credit cards, id s. Luckily not my passport. It would have been a much worse situation. Be aware in Zürich and in Geneva. Don't listen to the commercials on TV about Switzerland and Zürich. Also the police admits that Switzerland is not a safe place after joining Schengen. But I can tell you this does not happen in many other countries in Schengen. Swiss police blames the Romanians, Bulgarians and the Morroccans pickpocketing at the railway stations in major towns in Switzerland but does not do much. OBB-Austrian Railways is a horrible company. They don't take any measure. If there is an emergency on the train there is no OBB rep. If this happened in Turkey there are cameras on each train platforms. I couldn't believe what I was facing with in Switzerland. Totally opposite of its image.

Mentioned in this post
Austria
Austria
Europe
Geneva
Geneva
Canton of Geneva, Switzerland
Turkey
Turkey
Europe
Anchorage, Alaska
Destination Expert
for Anchorage, Zermatt
Level Contributor
18,179 posts
9 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: How prevalent is pickpocket at the railway station?

You must remember that this kind of behavior is fairly new for the Swiss whereas it has been happening in Turkey for years so they have prepared a response. I think the Swiss will develop a plan because the problem is no longer isolated to a few incidents in Geneva but, of course, it takes time.

The most important thing to remember is how many people go through these stations every day without incident. Even my friend who lost several thousand francs at Visp said she should have known better than to have so much cash and to have in in a handbag that was easy to open and she was carrying it over her shoulder when she had luggage to manage on and off the train. They simple opened the clasp in the crowd around the train door, took the money and left. Her bag remained on her shoulder.

These theives are opportunists and are not in a hurry. They simply wait for someone who is being a bit less than totally alert and then they strike. Pickpocket and train thefts are crimes of opportunity - the answer is simple, don't give them the opportunity!

There is another action that should be taken. If you have been victimized, send an email to the Swiss Tourism authority telling them about the crime and about how it changed your view of Switzerland as a tourist destination. Tell them you have or will post about your experience on the travel forums such as TA because others should not be victimized. If there is anyone who can influence the speed with which cameras are installed, more police are on station platforms, etc., it will be them if they believe it will affect tourism.

It might be a good idea to start a forum or do a page on the top questions etc. about how people have been victimized by these thieves and with suggestions about how to protect yourself. Meanwhile, don't leave yourself vulnerable. Think about this before you travel anywhere in Europe as this is a growing crime all over - yes, the open border concept has created some problems as there are those who see the opportunity as one to take! If you plan your actions to be as secure as possible before you go, you won't be trying to figure out what to do as you are rushing to catch a train!

I carry a very lightweight but steel cable bicycle lock and then I lock my large bags together in the luggage area of the carriage - it's enough to deter. Remember, these are people looking for a quick and easy opportunity. I don't put bags in the overhead rack because there are now reports of thieves walking through the cars and stealing bags from the overhead rack if the owner is distracted (I think the thieves are probably creating the distraction - one report here was about someone asking the owner of the bag a question and showing them some paperwork and when they got ready to leave the train, the bag in the overhead was missing - they hadn't worried because they weren't napping or anything). I keep the bags away from the aisle and my bag with money, passport, etc. is next to my body under a coat or other clothing that on the platforms is closed so it's pretty hard to reach the bag. Don't carry everything in one spot if you can help it and don't carry much cash - in Europe and particularly Switzerland, there are ATM's all over so you can always get more cash if you have your ATM card! Travel supply companies have been selliing the money belts for many years and that's not because there wasn't a need!! If you can't secure your passport, money, cards in another way, get a money belt and use it!

Use luggage locks when traveling on trains so that your bags can't be unzipped. I don't lock bags for flights - it doesn't stop theft at all and just means your bag may be delayed while security unlock it, etc. I do carry locks and use them on bags that I will be putting in the luggage section of a carriage so that someone can't just unzip them and take what they want. Again - deter them at all and they will go for an easier target! It's the same principle as having a barking dog at your house - the dog might just lick a burglar but the burglar doesn't know this and will head for a quieter house rather than risk the attention that the neighbors might pay to a barking dog.

I also have cards for two different accounts at the same bank so that if I do lose one, I can call the bank, transfer all the money and use the other account. This works great for those of us who are single and can't get a second debit card for an account. Don't carry all of your credit cards together so that you still have cards for the rest of your trip if you lose your wallet or you are victimized by a thief.

There is tons of information on the internet about how to foil this kind of thief. There are many inexpensive products on the market that will help you to protect your valuables. Never leave anything with much value in a bag you don't have right by your side including when you are flying. It never ceases to amaze me how people complain about having their jewelry or camera stolen out of a bag they checked for a flight or how the bag the airline lost had all their required medications in it.

Be safe, be alert and have a plan before you travel and then use it - leave yourself enough time to be sure you can be secure and not rushed!

Mentioned in this post
Turkey
Turkey
Europe
Geneva
Geneva
Canton of Geneva, Switzerland
Europe
Europe
World
Montreal, Canada
Level Contributor
4 posts
1 review
Save Reply
5. Re: How prevalent is pickpocket at the railway station?

The Swiss prosecutor made his decision yesterday and said. There was not enough evidence about their theft (photo, camera record etc, despite the fact that there were no cameras neither on the train nor on the platforms, nowhere). The Romanians were illegal in Switzerland. However no action could be taken. They were let go. If I were a Romanian, Bulgarian pickpocketer I would move to Switzerland immediately. Both countries are the poorest members of EU. Being an EU citizen pickpocketer from a poor country why not move to the richest country in Europe and rob innocent people. After some time declare yourself as poor and start getting support from the Swiss Government. Financial aid from Swiss tax payers. Switzerland is the most convenient country for pickpocketers in Europe since no police officer, no safety measures. Great!!! This totally encourages the move.

Mentioned in this post
Anchorage, Alaska
Destination Expert
for Anchorage, Zermatt
Level Contributor
18,179 posts
9 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: How prevalent is pickpocket at the railway station?

You are making some very broad and derogatory comments about Switzerland that you have very little basis for making. The fact that you were victimized could just as readily be seen as you being careless and inviting a thief to rob you. Now, don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that is the case but only that lots of silly and incorrect blame can be cast in these situations and lots of broad and incorrect assumptions can be made. Please don't assume such things...they are not correct and they are silly.

Mentioned in this post
Zurich, Switzerland
Level Contributor
17 posts
1 review
Save Reply
7. Re: How prevalent is pickpocket at the railway station?

Despite being victimized at Zurich, I continued to stay on as a tourist and visited Geneva the following Sat. I checked into a Hotel just opposite the Geneva Railway station. What caught my immediate attention at the Hotel reception are notices informing guests about pickpocket.

When I enquire with the hotel staffs if they can recognize the pickpockets, their immediate response was " have you been pickpocket ?". So I shared my Zurich experience.

This was the Hotel staffs sharing about Geneva Railway station...

"They recognized some of them but can't do anything since they are not allowed to install cameras outside of their hotel. The pickpockets make sure they hide their identification, so when they are caught the police can only lock them up for 3 days and they will re appear. Some are well dressed and even brave enough to walk into the hotel and pretend to be hotel guests so they started putting notice on Pickpocket to inform their own guests once they check in at the reception."

Therefore, this is not a " broad and degoratory comment about Switzerland " from a tourist victim but proactive actions and sharing by Hotel staffs.

So it is no surprise that the Zurich prosecutor released the culprits since there are no evidence. It's about time something being done by the appropriate authorities to installed cameras in public places to help reduce crime rates in Switzerland.

Mentioned in this post
Zurich
Zurich
Canton of Zurich, Switzerland
Geneva
Geneva
Canton of Geneva, Switzerland
Zurich, Switzerland
Level Contributor
17 posts
1 review
Save Reply
8. Re: How prevalent is pickpocket at the railway station?

One other key point mentioned by the Geneva Hotel staffs is that the pick pocket situation will be worse in Summer than winter time.

Mentioned in this post
Geneva
Geneva
Canton of Geneva, Switzerland
Zurich, Switzerland
Level Contributor
17 posts
1 review
Save Reply
9. Re: How prevalent is pickpocket at the railway station?

I followed up with the suggestion by kileysmon ie

"send an email to the Swiss Tourism authority telling them about the crime and about how it changed your view of Switzerland as a tourist destination.

This was their respond:

"Your message was deleted without being read on Tuesday, February 26, 2013 11:02:43 AM UTC."

Mentioned in this post
10. Re: How prevalent is pickpocket at the railway station?

-:- Message from TripAdvisor staff -:-

This post was determined to be inappropriate by the TripAdvisor community and has been removed.

To review the TripAdvisor Forums Posting Guidelines, please follow this link: http://www.tripadvisor.com/pages/forums_posting_guidelines.html

Our staff may also remove posts that do not follow our posting guidelines, and we reserve the right to remove any post for any reason. Thanks for being a part of the TripAdvisor travel community!

Removed on: 10:05 pm, May 02, 2014