Visitor tips against pickpockets in Budapest

Beware of pickpockets sign

Beware of pickpockets sign ©Brett Jordan/Flickr

The Hungarian capital is a lovely and charming place with so many beautiful sights and exciting events that some call Budapest the “Paris of the East”. This is why over 2 million tourists visit the city in a year and such a large number does attract pickpockets as well.

It is not dangerous to visit Budapest at all, however, you should be cautious thieves to keep your valuables safe. Just reading some tips against pickpockets in Budapest might help you to be more careful and avoid risky situations. Have any personal experience or idea of your own that you would like to share? Please let us know what you think below, in the comment section.

How pickpockets work

According to Budapest Police Department there are about 60-70 pickpockets operating on the streets of the city on a normal day. Most of them are using the traditional methods: they simply reach into pockets, they would cut the bottom of handbags or cut their straps (especially women’s bags).

Funny pickpocket graffity

Funny pickpocket graffiti ©GrooverFW/Flickr

They would work in small groups on trams, buses or subways. One or some of them would attract the attention of the passengers with their fake drunkenness, uncleanliness or provocative behavior while the other(s) steel a pocket or a bag.

Beware of pickpockets sign

Beware of pickpockets sign ©Brett Jordan/Flickr

The silent thieves and the tricksters mostly work on market places, crowded squares where they steal from bags, pockets and the backpacks of young people. The tricksters on the other hand have their own strategies. They might pretend they are lost tourists, they might ask you for some change for parking and then they rob their helpers.

How to avoid pickpockets

Pickpocket in action

Pickpocketing ©matiasjajaja/Flickr

You do not have to be afraid all the time, but you should be careful, especially in certain places. When you use public transportation, you should always keep your bag in front of you, with your hand on it. If you are sitting, put your bag on your lap, hold on to it and have its strap crossed over your head if possible.

Close your pockets or take your valuables out of them and keep them in inside pockets – not all in the same one.  Only carry the amount of cash that you need and only as much baggage as you can take care of and regularly check if it’s still intact.

In case you still get robbed, immediately ask for the help of those around you and of the police. If the pickpocket is not caught, you should immediately file a report at the local police.


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