Sacre bleu: French government warns citoyens to stay out of Dorchester and be wary of purse snatchers in the North End

CarCarll alerts us to this alert from the French equivalent of the State Department about travel in the US:

Boston : la circulation à pied et de nuit est à éviter dans les quartiers de Dorchester, Mattapan et Roxbury. L’attention des Français doit également être appelée sur une recrudescence de la petite délinquance, observée notamment lors des grandes manifestations culturelles ou sportives et dans certains quartiers touristiques, tels que Chinatown, Fenway et le North End.

Or roughly:

Don't even think of walking around Dorchester, Mattapan and Roxbury and avoid them completely at night, but also be alert to petty criminal activity during festivals and when one of the local teams wins another championship, and in certain touristy areas such as Chinatown, Fenway and the North End.

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    Comments

    Shocker!!!

    The time honored tradition of Les Bleus of giving up anytime their feet hurt has given way to just plain old avoiding anything dangerous in life. Bunch of medre heads.

    I would gladly walk some beret wearing cheese eating surrender monkey from Adams Corner to Dudley at any time of the day as long as could hit them with a canoe paddle afterwards.

    Didn't staff at the Louvre go on strike this year because of all the petty crime inside the museum? Pot calling the kettle noir.

    This would be a perfect time for Anthony Clarke's bit on swatting away Gypsy babies while trying to hold onto your wallet from pickpockets on the Paris Metro.

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    What the heck Adam? Why are you encouraging the wingnuts?

    I got bored a loooong time ago reading pathetically unimaginative bigotted rants like the one from the poster above.

    Before any other dittoheads get their freedom-knickers in a twist, here's a more accurate translation of those perfectly reasonable set of traveler's guildlines:

    Welcome > Tips for Travelers > Advice by country > United States

    Security
    General Recommendations

    Remember that the main risk is not from terrorism but from crime.

    The United States is not immune from foreign terrorism, as the attacks of 11 September 2001 have shown. Violent actions by national factions are nothing new (eg, the federal building in Oklahoma City in 1995, use of anthrax against the Congress and the media in autumn 2001).

    The terrorism alert level is measured at all times by the authorities based on current evidence. It is released domestically and internationally (see the website www.whitehouse.gov/homeland ).

    The considerable increase in resources devoted to the fight against terrorism since 11/9/2001, is not a full guarantee of safety.

    After eight years of decline, crime in the US is up slightly. This increase affects some particular areas. It is advisable, arriving in a city, to learn which neighborhoods to avoid and, in the case of others, when travel by foot or at night hours becomes potentially dangerous.

    Most crimes are committed at night, and particularly on the weekends. The majority of homicides take place on public roads and are linked to drug trafficking.

    Police violence and racially-motivated behavior is sometimes reported.

    Tourists are prime targets for pickpockets, it is recommended to leave your passports, tickets and money in a safe place and keep with you a photocopy of the first page of your passport and green paper "visa waiver", which is provided by the Immigration Service when entering the country.

    You should avoid keeping luggage and documents in a parked car or unattended at airports, railway stations, car rental agencies and hotel lobbies.

    Due to the high risk of fraud on credit cards, it is recommended to make the payments in cash for small amounts and in small establishments and in all circumstances, not to lose sight of the card.

    Note that a scrupulous compliance with authoritues is required at airports and on airplanes (see section transport).

    Due to the current international context and the sensitivity of the American public, it is advisable to exercise restraint in conversations on the topic of security when in public.

    East Coast:

    Boston: Foot traffic and travel at night should be avoided in the neighborhoods of Dorchester, Mattapan and Roxbury. Visitors should be aware of an increase in petty crime, especially during major cultural and sporting events and in some tourist areas such as Chinatown, the North End and the Fenway.

    [continues with similar broad warnings about all the other major US cities...]

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    Wow--I really can't believe

    Wow--I really can't believe people fall for this.

    Times like these are when I would advise anyone to perfect the "Get outta my way" face. You're looking 10, 20 feet ahead (or 3, 6 meters ahead, if you're in Paris) and you can't be bothered with what's right in front of you.

    That's true enough, tcf098.

    Your post is absolutely spot-on.

    I also might add, however, that there are a number of cities abroad that're not particularly safe to walk around in at night, particularly for a woman or girl, either. Delhi, parts of Paris, Rome, London, Dublin, to name afew.

    Seems fine to me

    All travel warnings are overly cautious, and any city that has tourists has warnings about being aware of petty thieves in touristy areas and staying out of non-touristy areas that can be unsafe at night. The US travel warning for Paris says essentially the same thing about the tourist heavy/not tourist heavy neighborhoods there, though in more detail.

    Some tourists do stupid things and they stand out.

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    The pickpocketiest place I've ever been

    was waiting in line outside the Moulin Rouge in Paris. It was so obvious that anyone with a whit of common sense could see them a mile away. Most Americans waiting in line did not seem to have a whit of common sense. For crying out loud, I probably could have walked off with their wallets without them noticing.

    No matter what city or country you're in, it's all about common sense.

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    Not so bad when I was in Paris

    Plenty of ring scamming and people leaving stuff at every seat and coming back to collect money, etc. But they had just given any and all non-natives of France a free plane ticket back to Romania or Bulgaria or wherever they had come from and most took advantage of the opportunity.

    When I sent my son to Italy with his high school class, I went to Eddie Bauer and bought a zippered pouch on a rope that he wore all through that trip and our August trip as well. It was big enough to hold a passport in one pocket (hacked with velcro), his phone and some cash and one of those hotel entry cards or a room key. It travelled under his jacket - always handy, but very hard to grab and hard to lose, too.

    He now uses it when he goes into Boston. Go figure.

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    I have never had a problem in Paris.

    I have been to Paris more than once a year for the past 7 or 8 years. I have never once had a problem with anyone in any capacity (even on that RER B train mentioned in the State Department bulletin that someone posted). Instead, I have been consistently impressed with how kind and willing to help the natives have been.

    [Disclosure: I am by no means fluent, or even proficient, in French. That said, I have minimal working knowledge of the language and can understand basic stuff. I think that the key for me has been never approaching anyone and immediately speaking English. Almost everyone in Paris now speaks English (well, too), and is more than happy (sometimes eager) to switch to English as soon as I bungle my first phrase in French. Further, all that crap about "the French not liking Americans" is just that - crap. Amazingly, I have been thanked (as if I had something to do with it - I'm under 40) on multiple occasions for what "you Americans did for us to save us from the Nazis". One older woman, speaking to me through her daughter or perhaps grandaughter, almost brought me to tears with her recollection of what some GIs did for her family.]

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    I agree, Parisians are willing to help

    But like many cities, there are scammers congregating in heavy tourist areas. Seems to go in cycles. I've never seen any ring scam but last time I went saw a lot of friendship bracelet scams around Sacre Coeur. They were very aggressive too, the only time I was ever bothered in Paris.

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    The "string bracelet" guys....

    ... at Sacre Coeur were definitely creepier than the lost ring folks (a kid and a young woman). The portrai/silhouette people in the square at the top of Montmartre were almost as pushy, but not quite as intimidating. Of course, I found Sacre Coeur itself creepy, much preferring the little anceint church in its shadow (which was rescued from demolition by a fervent atheist who despised Sacre Coeur).

    We encoutered huge amounts of kindness in Paris (and in Rome) and had virtually no negative encounters.

    Are you people serious? Why

    Are you people serious? Why are you taking this personally?

    1. Boston does not represent you as a person, you just live here

    2. This isn't an editorial about how crime-ridden Boston is, it's a guideline for tourists unfamiliar with the city

    3. The guidlines in no way imply that Paris is free of crime. I don't understand why everyone is bringing up pickpockets in Paris... this isn't a travel guide to Paris and there are indeed plenty of petty thieves in Boston. I really don't get where you got the idea that this is a case of the "pot calling the kettle black"

    4. The guidelines are correct in suggesting that DMR are unsafe to walk at night. Obviously there are safe parts of each neighborhood and you can often drive or walk through without incident, but they can definitely be dangerous at night and people, especially tourists, should exercise caution. i have lived in Egleston and Codman sq with no problems but have also been picked up by the police for walking near Grove hall at night and harassed a few times. Mattapan especially makes me feel pretty uneasy at night and I have spent plenty of time in rough areas of baltimore jersey and nyc.

    You people really need to get over yourselves... Christ

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    Turns out I completely

    Turns out I completely misread these comments after the first one. Thats what I get for barely sleeping all night. I apologize for being excessively grumpy and getting worked up over one troll comment and some people relating their personal experiences in Paris.

    Paris is nice.

    Dublin has its own charms, too, as does Munich.

    I have to say it comes in at a solid fourth for me - Berlin and Prague being tied for second and Barcelona the run-away favorite.

    I never felt the least bit uncomfortable or concerned running around Paris, though. I think the pickpocketing has to do with it feeling instantly safe and romantic and fascinating and otherwise relaxing and attention-engaging.

    (Barcelona has a serious pickpocket problem too)