13/02/2013

WATCH OUT - THIEVES ABOUT!



Tenerife must be lying several centimetres lower in the Atlantic at the moment – apparently there’s hardly a spare bed to be had. This is good news for the tourist industry and a much-needed boost to the economy of an island that has more than 35% unemployment.
Not all visitors are welcome, of course. Those who come to swell the membership of foreign gangs of various nationalities are indicative of the downside of tourism. When we go to meet a friend at the airport and find the place crawling with police, we know they have been alerted to the arrival of more criminals.
Although one shouldn’t blame the victims, it is difficult not to when many holiday-makers are so incredibly careless.
Some of them – not always the younger element, I might add - get stupidly drunk and become easy prey for muggers when they stagger back to their hotels in the dark.
Far too many men carry their passports and wads of cash in the back pockets of their shorts instead of using the hotel safe.
Both sexes leave handbags and bum-bags unattended while they swim in the sea.
They buy tablecloths from swarthy women in the street when there are shops that sell them much cheaper, and the tourists often hold their purses so carelessly that the women’s nimble fingers can steal enough money to buy a dozen tablecloths.
One of the criminals’ latest tricks is to stick a piece of paper on the rear window of cars in car-parks. The driver slings handbag, camera and shopping on the back seat and starts to reverse, then sees the paper and gets out to remove it. Before he/she has reached the back of the car the thieves have got in and driven off.
A variation on the car-park theme is to wait until a driver has unlocked the car and put their belongings inside, and then shove a map under their nose and ask for directions. While the driver obligingly looks at the map an accomplice steals anything of value from the car. This actually happened to a friend of mine – her handbag was of no particular value, but she lost her credit card, her cash, her Residencia, her Health card, her prescriptions and her house keys. After a lengthy visit to the Policia she went home via a ferreteria and changed the locks, then set about replacing all her lost paperwork. Her husband suffers from dementia so he forgot about it quickly, but she was traumatised for days.
But don’t let me put you off! Your chances of falling into any of the above traps are the same wherever tourists go, and Tenerife has more sunshine this time of year than the Mediterranean. So come here and enjoy your holiday, but do please be careful.

7 comments:

  1. It's all about being careful, in the main. But I think the car crimes are harder to watch out for. I hope your poor friend is okay, and still feels safe.

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  2. You've put me off going anywhere!

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  3. I agree it isn't the fault of the victim but that it's also a good idea to be careful with our valuables wherever we are.

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  4. Sadly that kind of thing doesn't only happen to holiday makers. We've had warnings sent round locally of car park scams, exactly like the ones you mention, happening here in Leicester UK. I would like to think that I'd not be distracted. I am obsessive about locking my car, even to return a trolley when I'm parked next to the trolley park, but we can all drop our guard sometimes. Thanks for the reminder to stay wary.

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  5. Paper on the rear window? I never would have imagined. Better than being carjacked at gunpoint, but still... I hope your friend feels better.

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  6. When I was in Egypt there was an accident, stopped to help and got my bag nicked!

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  7. What a shame that such scams over shadow thoughts of holidays, but it seems to be a common thing everywhere now, home and abroad. A great shame. I hope your friend is feeling a little better. My mum had her purse stolen from her bag under her arm in a shop a few years ago and was in a terrible mess, so my thoughts go out to your friend.

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