Warnings and Dangers in London Pickpockets, Beggars, Crime, and Scams
The city of London is among the most famous cities in the world and regularly draws visitors from around the globe. Like any major metropolitan area, however, there are warning and dangers like pickpockets, beggars, crime, and scams that London tourists should be aware of.
Although you’ll feel reasonably safe for most of your time in London, it’s best to watch your belongings when you’re in crowded areas. London is at number 10 in the list of destinations where tourists are most likely to be pickpocketed; and shopping districts, such as Oxford Street, have a reputation for thieves. The London Eye is a popular destination, but the crowds attract thieves looking to steal phones and other valuables from poorly secured handbags. Mobile phones are a common target for thieves, and signs are located throughout the city warning of this danger. You’ll also want to avoid using cell phones while walking around in large crowds. While you’re not paying attention, you’ll become a target for street criminals. Some good places to make calls are in lobbies, including those of any hotel, bank, or museum. There’s also a pickpocket threat on the transport network. There are currently 20,000 reported pickpocketing offences on the transport network, though the British Transport Police, Transport for London, and Metropolitan Police are working together to reduce this.
Entertaining street games could easily mask a scam in the making. The basic shell game includes three shell-like objects and a round object, such as a pea. The con man works with a ringer, who picks the winning shell a couple of times before they start taking bets from unsuspecting tourists. A third conman is usually posted as a lookout for local law enforcement. Other scams include individuals selling tickets outside of the theatres for shows. These scammers offer prices that are much higher than the face value of the ticket, and some tickets sold are actually invalid. Other scammers will try to sell you jackets, which they claim are leftover samples that they need to get rid of.
Editor’s note: The information contained on this page was compiled using real traveler reviews about pickpockets, beggars, crime, and scams in London.