Sunday, November 20, 2005

Tramway - Prague (April 2004)


In more ways than one, trams are probably the most dangerous aspect of Prague and probably of any city that uses them as a mode of transporation. Pedestrians and trams don't mix very well, and there were several times when I or someone I knew was nearly bowled over by an oncoming tram driver. They ring their little bells and then barrel on through. Also, when trams and busses collide, and yes, it happens from time to time, people get hurt.

Then, from a crime perspective, there are tram gangs to worry about. These are groups of 3 or 4 large men who use the trams as their weapon of choice. They're not limited entirely to trams though, as I know of people who have been accosted on the subway in the same manner. These gangs operate by targeting individuals who are clearly tourists. They might follow this individual onto a tram, or they might just wait on the tram for an unsuspecting target to board. When they spy something such as a camera bag, or purse, they wait by the doors through which their mark is going to get off. As the victim exits, they grab him/her, ripping whatever they can out of his/her hands, and then push him/her off the tram as the doors are closing. Once the doors are closed, the tram moves on with the victim standing in bewilderment as the 4 large men bask in the glory of their spoils, most likely getting off at the next stop. It's really a frustratingly elegant system, but can be avoided fairly easily utilizing my equally elegant rules for avoiding tram robbery.

1. If you're getting onto a tram or subway car, and observe a group of 3 or 4 guys in close proximity to each other on that car, don't get on there, but move to the next one.

2. If you witness 3 or 4 guys in close proximity to each other who are getting onto the car you're on, get off and move to the next car.

3. If you are waiting at a tram or metro stop, and see 3 or 4 guys waiting with you in close proximity to each other, then move as far away from them as you can and don't board the same car they do.

4. And finally, my favorite rule, carry military grade tear gas in your pocket. (Yes, I did this, and actually wished that someone would have accosted me so I could have used it.)

7 Comments:

Blogger jerry said...

There are a couple groups. One gang's members are related to each other. They live out somewhere on the route of tram 9, i think.

Trams 9, 22 and 23 are mugger favorites. As far as stops to hang around at, I've seen them the most around Narodni Trida and Vodickova.

On the metro, Ive seen them take off at Muzeum, Hlavni Nadrazi, and Florenc.

Also look for people standing around the tram stops with coats draped over their arms. They like to lean up against you with their coat as a cover for what they're trying to do below.

Anyway, this is what I gleaned in my short time there. Perhaps you can correct me if I'm off.

I'm glad you never had to use your tear gas.

Sunday, November 20, 2005  
Blogger jerry said...

Hmm. Well, I may not be as enlightened as our Martin here, but I've been watching the news.. I'm bringing you this report from the sprawling suburbs, and they seem healthy enough. If they are not here when you return, we will all have much larger problems to think about. The extinction of suburban America would be of greater global catastrophic proportions than whatever killed the dinosaurs. At least that's what it feels like, driving from stoplight to stoplight here in Michigan.

Monday, November 21, 2005  
Blogger An Enlightened Fellow said...

I concur.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005  
Blogger X said...

Did you guys ever have DVPP when you were in Prague?

I actually have a few questions about that. If you did, I'd really like to pick your brains for a paragraph or two.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005  
Blogger X said...

'Pick your brain' is such a strange idiom...I promise it won't be as painful as it sounds.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005  
Blogger An Enlightened Fellow said...

DVPP, if it's what I'm thinking of, was in the planning/governmental approval stages the second year I was there, and started the year after I left. You'll have to refresh my memory as to what it is exactly.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005  
Blogger An Enlightened Fellow said...

Actually, send me an email about it. You can find my address in my profile.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005  

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