Safety for Women traveling to Europe/安い世界の旅The Comfort Zone

安い世界の旅The Comfort Zone<Safety for Women traveling to Europe

Safety for Women traveling to Europe
By Tracey Wilen
 

Germany

"I would say that Munich is quite safe, but north Hamburg, Frankfurt, and Berlin have changed quite a bit and have become less safe. Safety-wise, I think all cities have their share of crime. It is wise for women to ask the hotel where the best places are to go for dinner, sight-seeing, etc. if you are alone. I think hotels are quite helpful to the women traveler." (Munich

England

"I have lived and worked in London for about 10 years now. I am frequently asked by Americans if London is safe. And I would say London's not as safe as San Francisco, but feels safer than New York. Obviously, it's all about neighborhoods. I have never been robbed, but I think you need to adopt a city wariness here as you would in the major cities in the U.S." (London)

France

"I don't think Paris is any different than any other major city. You must be alert always on the metro, at bus stops, and on crowded streets. I think safety-wise, it is important to develop an awareness, walk, and aloofness so that you don't look like a tourist. I hate to say it, but you must become hard, cold, callous, especially if you are a woman alone in a city." (Paris)

Italy

"I really didn't have any problems in Northern Italy, but I would advise women not to walk around at night alone on the streets. In Southern Italy, I found that men were particularly obnoxious and rather aggressive with their comments, following me, and trying to touch me. I think you have to be very assertive with the men in this country." (Rome)

Safety is a concern no matter where you travel or how frequently you travel. While the country, city, or town appears to be relatively safe, incidents can and do occur. Frequently it may be another visitor and not a local who commits a crime or puts you at risk. It is always worth reviewing and reinforcing good safety habits.

On the Street

Several women reported that they were followed while in Europe. Most of the incidents have been reported in Paris, but I have had reports from other cities as well, such as Pisa and Rome. In most cases, the incident involves a man following a woman for the purposes of expressing an interest in her. Initially, many women thought they were being followed to be robbed, but this was usually not the case. Some incidents were quite harmless, and others were more confrontational. Walking alone after hours in a busy cosmopolitan city such as Paris, Rome, and Milan may provoke unpleasant propositions from men who assume that a woman walking by herself at night must be a prostitute. Other women report verbal assaults from belligerent street people in London.

How Do You Handle This?

Walk in populated areas so that you have other people around you. Turn off into a department store, a hotel, or other public area where you might find someone to enlist for help if needed.

Try ignoring the individual. He may eventually go away. If your follower knows that it bothers you, he may turn it into a game.

Take a taxi to get away, even if it is just for a few blocks.

Confront the person with a stare-down if you think that will cause him to run off (although if not done aggressively, many times this will encourage conversation).

One woman reported that she was grabbed by someone following her. She kicked her harasser where it hurt, and she ran off.

Pickpockets and Petty Theft

Over 25% of my respondents reported some sort of petty theft, such as purse-snatchers and pickpockets on the street, in restaurants, and in dark garages. Be aware.

Avoid dense crowds, as this is usually where a pickpocket will linger.

Crowded buses, train, transportation stations, and airports are prime spots for pickpockets. If you are wearing pants, keep your money in your front pocket.

Do not walk close to traffic, as purses are often snatched by passing motorbikes.

Sling your handbag over your shoulder and body so that it is more secure and harder to slash.

Do not hang your handbag on the inside of the restroom door handle where it can be easily lifted.

In a restaurant, wrap your handbag around your leg or keep it on your lap. Do not hang it over the back of your chair.

Study maps in your room before you venture out so that you have a clear sense of where you are going and don't look like a tourist.

Be aware that people may be watching you dial your phone-card number in a phone booth. Often they memorize the numbers for later use.