Photo: Courtesy of ParisInfo.
Paris is in the thick of the tourist season, and the city's theft rate is increasing — especially for Chinese travelers. Paris' travel offices have reported that the number of Chinese tourists traveling abroad has increased, and due to China's hefty credit card restrictions, most are carrying serious wads of cash. Parisian pickpockets know this, and have unfortunately made them prey.
A Chinese government official told WWD that the amount of Chinese tourists has increased 23 percent in the last year. That means there are 23 percent more people walking around the picturesque streets, and dropping some serious dough at the city's luxury stores. That being said, crimes against Chinese tourists have risen 10 percent in the last year, according to WWD. "Asian tourists in general are targeted by pickpockets as they are easily identifiable and they often carry cash,” explained Laurent Queige, director of Paris' deputy mayor of tourism's office.
Many travelers have been warned to take precautions, such as: Don't openly carry smartphones or flaunt recent purchases (put down that Louis Vuitton bag!). What they aren't told, according to Hu Shuzan, a tourist, is what the thieves actually do. They manipulate, making small talk until the moment is right. Li Shiyuan, a student visiting the city believes that "Chinese people are easily targeted, especially Chinese girls and elderly ladies because these people tend to buy a lot of luxury goods and look rich.” Parisian officials, however, seem to have disregard for the situation.
“The problem is confined to Paris and specific areas," Parisian officials say. "Also we don’t have control of the problem. We won’t act as sheriffs in the streets. The threat lies more in the media coverage and perception of Paris." Which makes sense, but watching out for the backs of one of the city's biggest industries is key.
This is not to say avoid Paris at all costs. It's merely a reminder to know where you're going, what the conditions are, and to remain alert at all times (good advice in any city). (WWD)