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Pick pockets and Gypsies

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I'll be studying in Rome,Italy from February to April.

Does anyone have any advice on how to avoid being pick-pocketed and how to deal with these notorious "gypsies" of whom I keep on hearing, who will apparently do anything to get your money(including throwing their baby at you so that you catch him and someone picks your pockets while you have your hands full) ?

I really don't want to have to deal with putting a lock on my bag; i'm planning on only carrying around some money and a phone when walking around for the day.

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