Pickpocket worries in Rome?

Old Jul 20th, 2000, 12:18 PM
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Tom, you were wondering about the ages of those who had been pickpocketed. My colleague´s husband got pickpocketed in exactly the same manner as Anne discribed: front pocket, Termini Station, by a mother with a baby in her arms. He is a big strapping guy in his thirties, she works for a travel agency, so they are quite well travelled.

Like you said, there´s always a first...

Old Dec 18th, 2000, 07:22 AM
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You better be concerned about pickpockets, purse snatchings, etc. in Italy. My wife and I recently returned from Italy and out of a group of 35 people on our tour, 3 of us had theft attempts made against us.. One lady noticed a girl about 12 years old constantly bumping into her in a crowd in Florence. She looked down, and the girl had her hand inside the outer flap of her purse and had even gotten into an inner compartment and had her wallet about half way out. A blow to the girl's arm sent her running.

My wife carries her purse with her, but always carries it over her shoulder with one hand holding it against her body when in cowds or next to streets where a passing motorist could snatch it. All this didn't work however. While dining at an outdoor table at a Rome restaurant, my wife had her purse stolen. We were at a 2 person table with no one at the table on either side. My wife was sitting with her back against the restaurant wall, and I had my back to the street. Her purse was at her feet, right against the wall. A group of friends passing on the street stopped to chat with us, and while I was turned talking to them, and with my wife distracted by them, an Italian looking couple began seating themselves at the next table. Once our friends left, my wife looked down, and her purse was gone, as were the couple who were seating themselves. They must have hooked her purse with their foot, slid it over to their table and departed with it. It was a rare lack of caution on our part, but the wine, friendliness of our waiter, etc. had put us in a festive, trusting mood. The worst part of the experience was that the leather purse had just been purchased by my wife two days before, and she loved it. Also, our camera with about 20 good pictures we had taken was in the purse. Also, getting the credit cards cancelled before the thieves used them was a nightmare.

Violent crime is rare in Italy, but such petty thefts are widespread. All I can say is be careful. The thieves abound.
Old Dec 18th, 2000, 10:52 AM
Nigel Doran
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I have to admit that I had heard lots and lots and lots about the threat of petty crime in Italy, but in all the times I have been there, I have never experienced it and never even seen it.
I would say keep savvy and only keep what you need to keep on you.
Old Dec 18th, 2000, 02:17 PM
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Exercise sensible caution, as the posters above have advised. If your hotel has a safe in reception or in your room, use it. When you need to take your passport for travellers' cheques to be cashed make sure you have it (and the cheques) in a money belt or hidden in a (buttoned or zipped) pocket under a jacket.

When we noticed two girls in Florence walking around with a huge piece of cardboard in their hands we were expecting to have it thrust in our faces, so we crossed the road to avoid them. We also stared at them with furrowed brows to make the point that we knew what they were up to and there'd be no joy with us.

In Milan outside the Sforza Castle two girls tried to steal my friend's glasses case, which they thought was a wallet.

In Naples we had absolutely no problems whatsoever.

I was sorely tempted on my last trip to buy a cheap purse and put it in my back pocket and get an Italian friend to write "sucker" in Italian on a piece of paper. Maybe next time......
Old Dec 19th, 2000, 01:32 PM
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We returned from three weeks in Italy in October. It was the best trip ever! You are going to have a blast...As for protecting yourself....First, We both agreed that we felt safer in Italy than anywhere in the US! There is petty theft,but not the same sort of violent crime as in the US.Secondly, Don't take anything with you that you are afraid of losing...we wore cheap watches, and inexpensive jewerly and didn't worry. We carried large bills and passports in a pouch that Eagle creek makes and fits under your clothes. My husband wore a money belt for large bills... At Train stations(especially in big cities)look alert and even alittle mean, and you should be fine....Good Luck!Maggie
Old Dec 21st, 2000, 02:22 PM
Roger & Amy
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Hi Diann,

While on our honeymoon, my wife and I were accosted by 2 little gypsie girls. While one tried to shove a newspaper in my face the other was busy trying to get her little hands in my pockets. However, I was warned about this very method of pick pocketting. If you wish to keep your valuables, wear a money belt underneath your clothes. You might put an old wallet in your back pocket that has absolutely nothing in it as bait, so they grab that and nothing else. I did this and it worked nicely.

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