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Pickpockets in Berlin: How to Protect Yourself


Learn more about where pickpockets strike in Berlin and how to protect yourself from them.

Tourists in particular are welcome victims for pickpockets in Berlin. Their carelessness makes it easy for pickpockets to steal smartphones, credit cards and cash. Pickpockets' favorite places are busy squares, shopping arcades, public transportation and events. Jostling and pushing are the most common tricks they use to get their prey.

Avoiding pickpockets: advice from the Berlin Police

Carry valuables close to the body

Valuables such as important documents, credit cards, cash and keys should never be stowed in your jacket or back pocket. Handbags and backpacks are also easy prey for pickpockets. It is better to store valuables in inside pocket, front trouser pockets or pouches worn across the torso. These are more difficult for pickpockets to access.

Keep an eye on your bag

Pickpockets especially like to strike in shopping crowds and large gatherings of people. Here, cross-body bags should be avoided. In general, bags and backpacks should always be closed and carried under the arm or on the front of the body.

Stay vigilant

Be especially vigilant and wary if someone is harassing you, getting close to you, trying to get your attention or trying to distract you.

Watch your bag in restaurants

Never leave bags and backpacks unattended, such as in a shopping cart, under a table, or on the back of a chair in a restaurant. Do not leave valuables or keys in your pockets when leaving your jacket at the coat check.

Don't flash your cash

Avoid counting your bills in public. Be especially careful when making cash withdrawals.

Places where pickpockets strike in Berlin

What to do if you've been pickpocketed?

As a general rule, the theft should be reported to the police as soon as possible. Only then can they take action. A police report is also usually required for reporting the theft to the insurance company.

Report stolen passports and ID cards

If your personal ID card or passport was stolen, report it to the police immediately. In addition, you need to contact your country's embassy.

Block credit cards immediately

Stolen debit or credit cards should be blocked immediately. The fastest way to do this is to call your bank or the nationwide German credit card and cell phone blocking hotline. It can be reached under the number 116 116. To ensure that debit and credit cards are blocked without any problems, it is advisable to write down the card numbers in advance and keep them in a safe place outside the wallet - the credit card companies will request the numbers.

Cell phone stolen: have SIM card blocked

Anyone whose cell phone or smartphone has been stolen should have the SIM card blocked immediately so that the perpetrators cannot make calls at the victim's expense. Stolen persons should also have the International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) number of the cell phone at hand. This number is needed both to block the cell phone and to initiate a police search. You can find out what your phone's IMEI number is by pressing the key combination star-rhombus-zero-six-rhombus (*#06#). In most cases, it has 15 digits. For German phones, it usually starts with a 3 or 4.

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Source: BerlinOnline/Polizei Berlin/

Last edited: 24 February 2022