Montmartre Petty Crime Wave

There has been a drastic jump lately in the number of foreigners getting robbed around the Abbesses/Sacré Coeur area. There is one group of five young men who usually corner a foreign couple and make them empty their pockets and give them their ATM card pin code. The others just plain old pickpocket tourists. But the end result is that foreigners are now filing by the dozens into the police stations of the 18th arrondissement.

At least two of these stories have a happy ending, though. Undercover policemen caught one of the offenders red-handed in front of Sacré Coeur and they found the wallet of an American woman (among others) in his pocket. She hadn’t yet filed a report anywhere, so my boyfriend C tried calling the American Embassy to see if she was registered there. She wasn’t, so he put the wallet aside just in case she decided to file a report in the next day or two (the other option is to send it off for evidence, but then you can’t get it back).

He was telling me the story over dinner last night, and I said “Do you remember her name? We should look her up on Facebook.” A few clicks later, and there she was! I sent her a message and she replied back a few minutes later saying that it was her, and that she had just been to a different police station to pick up her (empty) purse. Case closed!

The funny thing is that while hunting through the garbages of Sacré Coeur for her own purse, she came across the purse of someone else and also found and returned it yesterday through Facebook. Talk about good karma coming back around to help!

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6 Responses to “Montmartre Petty Crime Wave”

  1. Comment by S Staples | 05/03/11 at 11:31 am

    I have had the same thing happen to me. But am now back in the UK. Do you know a contact email address for the the police stations of the 18th arrondissement? So that I can file a report.
    Kind Regards

  2. Comment by ksam | 05/04/11 at 11:07 pm

    I’m not sure that you can file a report by email – they usually want you to sign it…

  3. Comment by Marilyn | 05/10/11 at 6:37 pm

    Metro Line 12 (Mairie d’Issy / Porte de la Chapelle ) to the Butte Montmartre is Paris’ most dangerous line with pickpockets and ‘rubbers’ (frotteurs in French) as the police call males who sexually assault women on the metro. (A frotteur does what the name implies: rubs himself to satisfaction against a woman.) Paris’ deepest metro station is also on that line (Abbesses) and you need to take an automatic elevator to the top. If you female, do make sure never to find yourself alone in that large steel elevator with a man or several men.

  4. Comment by issa | 04/29/14 at 7:58 pm

    Today i was surprised by a black policeman who angrily at place du tetre run to me and bodered me askingto show him the pics i had done previously With my big nikon camera.he thoughti had done a pic of him and when i asked where was the problem he answered in a very rude attitude that it is forbidden to take pictures of plice staff!! That is so stupid.What is happening to france?? Where is the famous freedom ?? Bad image this professional gave of this town.

  5. Comment by Robert | 07/09/14 at 8:27 pm

    I was harrassed by con artists on the way up and down from the sacre coeur with my partner and hope police keep staffing in and around the steps of the beautiful attraction. I watched some get moved on while we had lunch near to the fountain but they were back twenty minutes later. If I was with a male friend I may not of been so tolerable of there blocking our route forward after many no thanks stated. I would expect there are numerous incidents every hour like this but my partners hand was shaking because of this, the one issue from a great trip to Paris. Hopefully undercover police are watching these guys regularly as they are brazen thieves. Our trip was three weeks ago and felt I had to see how many people have had bad experiences at the bottom steps to the sacred corrupt and there is a lot.

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    [...] Watch out in the crowded areas. You’ll probably be approached by people wanting to draw your portrait, and you should beware of pickpockets and groups of foreigners “selling” bracelets who can be eager to rob you. [...]


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