We had a totally different experience in Brussels in October. We walked at night from our hotel to dinner, to the big square, all around. We rode the metro early morning and until about 9 at night. We rode the train into Brussels from Amsterdam, and out of Brussels to Paris. We never encountered one minute of anyone approaching us or acting suspicious.
That said, we are always very aware of where we are, walk in lighted places that have at least some other people around, move purposefully, and don't drink more than a little so that we have our wits about us, and also don't look like easy targets. I don't wear jewelry that would attract attention.
When I travel with DH, who is about 6 feet tall and 220, I think that at least discourages attempts. When I travel with other women, and have done many trips with them, we are even more vigilant. We also do not stay out really late, drink too much or appear to drink too much, and don't invite trouble by flaunting money, jewelry, or ourselves (ha! not sure we'd have any takers anyway) and take the advice of hotel clerks who often can guide you to safer areas.
I don't know if our experience is the norm for Brussels, but in all our European travels we've never had anything stolen, never been attacked, never been approached by the scam artists. I'm really thankful for that, and know we've been very lucky, but we've also been really careful.
I hope others with a good experience in Brussels will tell their stories, as we thought it was a lovely place.
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