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How does Rome crime compare with other cities?

How does Rome crime compare with other cities?

May 14th, 2001, 11:09 AM
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How does Rome crime compare with other cities?

I've read on this site about the skill and swiftness of the pickpockets in Rome, and was wondering if it really is an issue. Do the statistics show that it occurs more in Rome than, say London for example? Is it a case of keeping a watchful eye just as one would do in any large city, or is it a much bigger problem in Rome?

Thanks for any and all suggestions.
May 14th, 2001, 11:47 AM
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Hi Ellen. Out of curiousity, prompted by your question, I did a web search using various combinations of "Europe", "crime", and "statistics" and couldn't find anything that appeared to compare crime statistics among various major European cities. That's not to say there's nothing available, just that I couldn't come up with anything. It would be very interesting if someone could.

IMO, keeping a watchful eye is part of it. The other part is keeping your valuables in a safe place (e.g. a money "pouch" hidden underneath your clothing).

Please do not let any fear you may have of pickpockets dissaude you from visiting Rome, a wonderful city.
May 14th, 2001, 12:22 PM
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Visiting Rome is like visiting any other large city anywhere in the world. You need to be careful but still allow yourself to enjoy the beauty of the city. Rome is known for it's "gypsy" pickpockets. Often times they are children and they carry newspapers or an article of clothing draped over their arm to disguise the purse they stole. My advise is to stay away from public transportation, ie. the bus and take taxi's. Wear a money belt under your shirt and if you carry a purse make sure it zips and can be carried close to your body. I'll be in Rome this summer and the threat of pickpockets will not deter me from enjoying this amazing city. Ciao!
May 14th, 2001, 12:53 PM
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Thanks for your responses, it's wonderful to get answers so quickly!

I would like to add that I'm very familiar with large cities, I live in London and have travelled to many European and Asian cities, and never felt threatened by street crime, although I have seen it close at hand. My husband and I were in Paris in 1986, when boatloads of pickpockets were brought in for the "summer business". We kept a good warch around us, and had one incident that we took care of with ease. A group of about 10 teens were walking towards us on a crowded street, and we noticed them before they came close. One of them pretended to trip on the sidewalk, falling towards us, but because we were alert, we took a few steps back, and told them where to taken their business in "strong" French. They scattered away immediately. A few days later, we were in St Germain, and we spotted a few teens standing by a wall, watching the crowds of people walking by. We crossed the street, and looking back at the teens, saw one of them take a wallet from the back pocket of a man walking by, and as the man turned to stop them, they had vanished.

I guess I'm just wondering if Rome today is any different from Paris in 1986. I am generally fairly careful, keep a good look at the people around me, have never worn a money belt and have managed to foil pickpockets in Paris and New York by just being aware and reacting as they approached. But I just wonder, given the posts on this site, if Rome warrants more measures, such as leaving most valuables at home?
May 14th, 2001, 01:17 PM
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Ellen, regarding the comments on this forum (or any other travel forum)...

In another thread someone expressed their opinion that people are more likely to write about negative experiences, such as being the target of pickpockets, than they are to go out of their way to write something like "I visited Rome and nothing bad happened to me."

I agree with that opinion. Petty crime does occur, and people's experiences with it should not be ignored, but I also think it's very important to keep some perspective.
May 14th, 2001, 11:37 PM
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I recently visited Rome, and was quite worried about the issue of 'gypsie pickpockets', having been warned about them by two friends.

As it happened, even with a watchful eye, I didn't see one incident (this was in March). So I was concerned for nothing. And, of course, we had a wonderful time. I'm sure my friends' experiences were real and should not be taken lightly, however.

I think the standard guidance about carying a concealed 'pouch' (my favorite is a pouch worn around the neck, accessible inside the shirt) is sound. You really don't need more than a day's worth of cash, and a credit card, as you wander around. I kept loose change and 'lower denomination' notes in my pocket. If pickpockets got those, good luck to them.

My main concern was losing my camera or note book, which would have happened if my bag was grabbed. But I just kept a firm grip and watchful eye at all times.

I have heard far worse things about Madrid; there, they are willing to knock you down to get your stuff. In Rome, it's just petty kids grabbing at stuff.

To anyone driving in Italy, though - beware. If you are moving from town to town, hotel to hotel, all your possessions are vulnerable in the car. I personally lost my camera and entire vacation film in Italy many years ago, stolen from a car parked by the beach, and a friend had their entire vacation purchases ripped off on their last day in Rome, after months in Europe! So be sure to drive to your hotel, and unpack, before taking side trips or leaving the car unattended.
May 15th, 2001, 08:41 AM
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Chris -- Thanks for the advice about theft from the car. Does this mean that it would be a bad idea to stop in Siena or San Gimignano en route from Florence to the town we're staying in that night? Does it depend upon whether we can fit all our stuff out of sight in the trunk? Does anyone know whether train stations in smaller cities like these would have luggage lockers or a "left luggage" department? That might be a solution.
May 15th, 2001, 10:12 AM
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I was in Rome two summers and had a wonderful time. But, the pickpocket situation was worse there than in most cities. I talked to a woman whose wallet had been stolen from her purse inside the Sistine Chapel. There were so many pickpockets in St. Peter's -- they just cruise the tourists looking for an open situation. After a while, you can spot them. But, often, you must be careful of women with small children in the tourist areas. The Coliseum is another area where you should be careful. Noneo f this is anything that should prevent you from having a good time -- but you should be prudent. Keep your eyes open and don't invite trouble.
May 15th, 2001, 03:43 PM
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Ellen--I was in Rome last month, and experienced no problems whatsoever. For our peace of mind my husband kept passports & larger bills in a money belt, but neither my purse nor his wallet were ever disturbed. I saw a few gypsies (?) around the Spanish Steps area, but they were simply begging and not really disturbing anyone.

I actually felt safer in Rome than many American cities I've visited, since I'd read that violent crime was very rare there.
May 15th, 2001, 09:20 PM
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I wouldn't let this stand in your way from going to rome. Just know where your money is and don't carry more than you can afford to loose.
Check out my travel websight, it has a lot of info on Rome!


May 16th, 2001, 05:23 PM
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I have been pickpocketed and "almost" pickpocketed many times in Italy, but never in any big city I've visited or lived in.

However, I feel physically safer in Rome than I do in my hometown of New York City. Italy has very little violent crime, and it's safe to walk at night everywhere I've been there.
May 17th, 2001, 05:26 AM
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Car Theft

I read on another board to purchase an Italian newspaper and leave it on the front seat of the car as this deters thiefs into thinking it's a local's car and not a tourist.

May 17th, 2001, 06:03 AM
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Just returned from a wonderful month-long vacation in southern France and Italy. We rented a car at the airport in Marseille, and returned it at the train station in Marseille as we were continuing on to Italy by train.

The Marseille train station is notorious for petty crime, so we were on the alert. Our problem was FINDING the Avis office to return the car. We stopped at a Hertz office to ask directions (yes, they rolled their eyes!). It was on a busy street, my husband unlocked the door to let me back in, a thief jumped off the back of a scooter, opened the back door on the driver's side and grabbed. The whole thing took 5 seconds.

We were driving a medium-sized car, but not everything would fit in the trunk. The thief got $1000 worth of camera equipment, and all our exposed film from our first week in Provence. We were just stunned.

HOWEVER, we have travelled many times in Europe and have never had a problem, so we just had to get over it. It could have happened in the USA, too.

I just want to remind you to go to the police station and file a deposition if you have valuables stolen. You won't get your stuff back, but you can use the papers to file an insurance claim when you return home. And, of course, try to keep everything out of sight. There's no way he could have seen what was on the seat - the car was only stopped for seconds and the windows were tinted - he just got lucky. Also, if we had only unlocked the one door instead of using the automatic unlock....oh well, things happen!

Other than that, the trip was a dream, but we'll never return to the Marseille train station!
May 19th, 2001, 11:11 PM
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After reading all the warning about the adeptness of Rome pickpockets in virtually every guidebook, my wife and I were prepared with moneybelts, pouches and the like. But we saw no pickpockets, even on the subway and in main tourist areas. Perhaps it's just because the main tourist season hadn't yet arrived, or perhaps because we live in San Francisco (where we've been pickpocketed over the years) and know to be aware of your surroundings. It pays to be attentive and careful but you don't need to be paranoid. As for safety, we walked around in several areas of the city late at night and felt very safe. Far safer than in the SF Bay Area.
May 20th, 2001, 01:14 AM
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We just got home from Italy, Rome last stop. While we did not have trouble with pickpockets we took pre-cautions of moneybelts, etc. However, late in the afternoon, we were taking the metro from the Vatican into town where we were staying near Nactional (don't recommend the hotel, was too far from things). Unfortunately, it was quitting time for a lot of working Italians and the train was STUFFED, body to body. When it came time to get off at our stop, the men in front of us tried to block our exit (just out of meanness, I think), however, one of our group who was nearer the front and who has big shoulders elbowed his way through and we followed, however, as I went through, the men on either side put a squeeze on me but we did get out. This happened to several others with us. Based on this experience, and the fact that Rome only has two metro lines, I think I would avoid riding them if possible during going home time (6-7:30) just to avoid possible problems. It was a little like the natives owned the train and they didn't want to share it with outsiders. It was a little scary for a while but this won't deter me from riding the Metro again but I'll pick the time. As far as being approached by children thieves, this didn't happen but one gypsy mother holding a sleeping child kept pursuing me and my husband even though we both said, "NO" in a firm manner. We finally crossed a busy street to get away. She was working with a man and I think the plan was for the man to take the receptacle of money if I were to remove my purse to give her some money. These scenes make me feel like an ogre, however, in Germany, I have seen mothers standing on the side and coaching their children how to go into restaurants to beg. It just pays to be alert.

I would guess that there is more crime against tourists in Rome than Paris because Paris is so spread out while Rome is more compact as far as the major sites are concerned that tourists would want to visit - the forum, palatine, pantheon, and many churches and museums, etc. Good luck, Liz
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Aug 6th, 2002 10:44 AM
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