Pickpockets and Purse-Snatchers, Rome

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  • This young thief has a pained expression!!
    This young thief has a pained...
    by EdMorgan
  • Pickpockets and Purse-Snatchers
    by brendareed
  • Trevi, site of our misfortune
    Trevi, site of our misfortune
    by Maria81
  • Beware of women with babies strapped to the front!

    by Shadwala Written Aug 18, 2015

    On 7th August 2015 we ( a group of 4 adults and 4 kids) got onto the Metro at Barberini. It was probably around 6.30 pm or so. My husband was the last one to get in. As he got in we saw that 3 people (2 boys and a girl - all probably teenagers) had not got on and had missed the train. As we were observing this , the train started to move and my husband realised he had been pick pocketed. This is what happened. He had had his wallet in the side pocket of his shorts. As he was trying to get on to the Metro he was held back and eventually got pushed in. Basically they made sure they picked his pocket , pushed him in and they got off. When my husband went back to the Barberini station the guys at the counter showed him 3 wallets, with cards intact. Anyway his was not there. We walked miles in the Termini station and waited for 45 minutes registered our complaint with a rude police officer and were given a number to call on Monday. We never found the wallet. It had some money and a couple of cards which we cancelled immediately.
    The next day we were in the crowded metro at the Republicca station, when we heard a massive scream as if somebody was in pain. Soon we saw a guard go past our cabin and quickly saw a teenage girl being marched away along with 2 of her companions. All girls. They has been caught in the act and thankfully the police was around and they were handed over.
    The next day we had just gotten off at the Termini Metro station and stood with our backs to the wall waiting for the train to move on. Again it was a crowded train. We saw 2 women both with babies strapped to their fronts got on adjacent compartments. I found it odd that they had babies and yet they were stood at the door. Very unsafe I thought to myself. Just before the doors started closing a young teenage boy was trying to get off the train and the lady with the baby pushed the doors from closing and got off with the boy and another girl and quickly made off. Just as the train started moving we saw a man panicking inside. He had been pick pocketed.
    We got on another train the next day to go to the Lapanto station. A bunch of kids got on the train and couple of people started walking away from them and to the adjacent compartment. ( Note that all compartments are joined up.) An Italian woman close to us urged us to keep our bags safe as she said the kids who had got on were likely to be pickpocketers.
    On Monday when we were using the metro we realised it felt safer. This was definitely because of police presence. Why can't they put more police in the stations and make it a safer and pleasanter place for everyone!
    Tip 1 - Do not keep your wallets in the side pockets of your shorts or trousers, Have the wallet in the front pocket and place your hand over it in crowded places.
    Tip 2 - Beware of kids acting in an attention seeking manner. They want to distract you so they can rob you.
    Tip 3 - Always be aware of where you are and who is around in the train station and platform. They sometimes spot you outside and might follow you.

    In spite of all this I still like ... no love Rome and will not be put off from visiting again.

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  • Rome Metro - Beware even children!

    by EdMorgan Updated Aug 13, 2015

    In Rome a few days ago in a group of 8. I got on to a Metro train behind a young girl in her early twenties. The train was pretty full but there was space directly across from the door. The young girl in front of me stopped dead at the centre pole and another girl, I later found out, pushed me from behind into the girl in front who turned around and began shouting and waving her hands. A lady shouted to me 'pickpocket' while pointing at my pocket, I felt for my wallet and realised it was gone. The girl bolted out through the door pursued by me. She ran for the door of the next carriage but I caught her before she got back on to the train. In the meantime my daughter had seen the girl push me and make her way into the crowd but my daughter managed to pull her from the train.

    At that a security man approached us and grabbed the arm of both girls. The one I had hold of then began shouting and pointing to the ground - at my wallet!!

    I picked it up and the security man who spoke virtually no English said, 'Check, check'. I checked the wallet and all was still there. I and my wife kept saying 'police' but the security man kept shaking his head and shrugging his shoulders. We eventually had to let them go. I got the impression there was nothing to be done because the girls were not in possession of the wallet or its contents. The two girls bolted.

    We caught the next train and this time I was the last of my group. A young boy of about 11 jumped on behind me and began waving down the platform and shouting 'Mama Mama' as the doors closed. Seconds later yet another woman shouted to me, 'That boy is a thief, your bag'. I looked at my backpack and both zips were almost fully open revealing all inside - but not my wallet! I had secretly given it to my daughter who had it in her bag clutched to her chest.

    My guess is that the 'gang' used the boy as a backup assuming I had put the wallet 'safely' into my backpack.

    I could not fathom how the little blighter had been able to get the bag open so quickly. My daughter had seen him waving his hand beside the bag. We tried it back on our cruiseship - with both zip pulls at the top you only need to move one to create a small gap between them; then you just need to hook a finger into the gap and pull down and voila - a fully opened bag in a second.

    With hindsight - As we entered the station I had taken out my wallet to retrieve tickets and replaced it my deep pocket - first mistake, I believe I was seen doing this and then targeted.

    I should have had the tickets separate from my wallet so that there was no need to take it out.

    I should never have had my wallet in my shorts pocket - second mistake.

    I never thought I could be pickpocketed without realising it - I was and never felt a thing. I never felt or heard a thing when the backpack was opened - the sound must have been covered by the train moving off.

    I should have had the backpack zips at their lowest position - this defeats the quick open. I should also have held it to the front of my body with the zips towards my body.

    I want to thank the two ladies on the trains - without their intervention and warnings I would surely have been robbed.

    There were a number of other people who we believe were involved - a guy with a beard who got off the train at the first altercation and then boarded the next train as we did, he 'appeared' to remonstrate with the boy after I shouted at him. There was a lady in her 40's who rode the escalators down to the platform - she stood sideways facing the wall on the way down, I remember thinking how unusual that was. My daughter believes she saw the girl who pushed me looking up the escalators as we rode down.

    Rome is a wonderful city, this was my fourth visit - and regrettably my last.

    Edit: photo of the young thief added. His pained expression is a reflection of his having his thumb bent by my daughter and my petite 280 pounds accidentally treading, on tiptoe, on his foot! The guy with the beard is almost certainly his gang leader.

    This young thief has a pained expression!!
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  • Pickpockets in subway around spagna termini metro

    by azadhoga Written Aug 9, 2015

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    I have lost 60 euro yesterday despite being aware of the dangers . Pocket was picked when exiting at termini metro . The distraction was a couple of whom the lady actually fell on my child when the train braked . After exiting I realised that I was missing the money. Along with the couple was a man who was trying to force his way through the carriage just before the train stopped . Lady was acting drunk. Watch out guys Rome is a dangerous city . I hope the pickpockets rot in hell

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  • make it hard, dont wear loose clothes

    by evan.vandeneinde Updated Mar 28, 2015

    I was standing in a McDonalds in Rome. Just minding my own business, waiting to buy a cola. Then this mid forties looking guy comes from the bathroom and tries to merge into the line. I stand my ground, kind of irritated at the gall of this guy but this guy wasnt interested in McDonalds. He waits for the cashier to go down to pick up a cup or something and reaches his hand into the lady in front of me's pocket. She was wearing a very loose, very wide pocketed jacket. The guy pulls his hand out and I think he grabbed like a five and a ten euro bill, but I'm not sure. He calmly strides out the door and out into the street. Me being a scrawny fellow decide that I didn't want a black eye the night before I leave and not wanting to be the center of the accusations, decide that the lady will find out eventually that she's short a few euros. Anyway moral of the story. Keep your valuables inside a "fanny pack" beneath your clothes. Don't wear/put valuables inside loose fitting clothing and always be aware. Even the oldest method still works.

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  • motelface's Profile Photo

    Termini metro theft.

    by motelface Written Feb 1, 2015

    At Termini station, I was with a tour group of about 50, probably not the best idea to go through the station with a group that big. I had my handbag crossed over the front of my body and my jacket on, covering it. It was very crowded and stuffy so I got hot and took my jacket off. I was holding it in front of me. We piled onto the train and as I was trying to get from the doors into an empty space, a young girl had her arm up holding the bar/pole in front of me, blocking my way. I said "excuse me" a couple of times and she didn't respond at all. After a bit of a pause, I ended up squeezing around. When we were comfortably on, my boyfriend pointed to her- she had gotten off the train. A moment later after the train had started moving I put my hand into my bag. My wallet was gone.
    When we got off I was questioning myself if I had left my wallet in the hotel but I called and they said they couldn't see it there. It was too much of a coincidence that that had happened. My boyfriend said there were actually two girls together, which made sense that one of them distracted me while the other took my wallet. Right in front of me! I felt so stupid.
    I cannot stress enough- get a travel pouch you wear UNDER your clothes. I was going to but thought I would be fine. They didn't gain anything as I had no money in it, and cancelled my cards as soon as I could, it was just a huge inconvenience for me for the rest of the trip not having access to my cards. I hate knowing my identity is out there, probably in the bin! And now I just have to replace everything. Because of this and other reasons I would hesitate to ever return to Rome, which is very sad.

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  • Fake opening of train doors!!

    by ps212 Written Oct 3, 2014

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    I always wanted to go to Rome so we went there during our Europe tour. Now I would never ever go there again and would not recommend Rome! There are simply a lot of things wrong over there and pickpocketing is not the only problem. Crossing the roads is absolutely dangerous as the "zebra crossing" are not really pedestrian crossing. Cars and mopeds go from one side when pedestrians are crossing or when the lights turn green. Most Romans are miserable, unfriendly and have bad customer service. Don't catch the bus as they are confusing where it is going and there's no signage in english or other language. So people can get lost. Also we spent a lot of money only to see the Trevi fountain, Colosseum and Spanish steps in scaffolding and not in their full glory. And the trains are old and not convenient.
    Now to the main point. I got robbed in the train station in Termini whilst trying to get on an overcrowded train METRO LINE 1. A group of teenage girls forced their way in front of me, trying to separate me from my husband. But I managed to get in front of her.They got on the train behind and in front of me. One minute later TWO of them got off the train and joined her 2 other friends and pretended to open the door forcefully. I tried to help them by pushing the door so that they can come in.
    Unfortunately I only noticed my purse was gone much later from the hanging bag in front of my shoulder. I normally make sure to touch my bag or sling it in front of. When I got on the bus, my hand was not on my bag but on my husband's rucksack to prevent from separating from my husband. And I did not feel anyone tucking at my bag. I probably should have left some money inside the hotel's safe but I do not think its 100% safe. Paris, Amsterdam and even London are much better place than Rome! This whole experience has really put me off this place and left me traumatised. I also would not potentially visit the whole of Italy. I hope anyone reads that and think twice to got to Rome!

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    Be careful near Colliseum

    by bezsensu Written Jul 9, 2014

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    Hello guys. I'm describing my experience in Rome hoping that it will help someone avoid being robbed. So I was in Rome alone, walking and sightseeing. I was near Colliseum when some guy came to me and started to talk to me. He was quite nice and I'm an open person, so when he asked if he can join me on with sightseeing, I agreed. It was about 8pm, not sure exactly. We were talking and walking for quite a while, and at some point we sat down on a bench in some park and continued to talk. I must have paid not enough attention on my bag because suddenly he just grabbed my bag and ran away, leaving me without my document, cell phone and money in the middle of foreign city. I managed to get my documents back though, the thief stole only my money, phone and camera. I would guess that it's that guy's way to steal and Colliseum is his area, so let me share some facts about him that he told me. He said he's from Turkey but lives in Norway in Olso and his name is Arkan (or something that sounds similar). He said he was born on January 1st. He said he just went to Italy for holidays but didn't sightsee too much. I guess that even if nothing of what he said was true, it might be a version he created for his victims so if you happen to talk to someone who says the same things as I mentioned, just leave him alone and don't be as stupid as me to trust strangers. Take care.

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  • Don't go to Rome unless you don't mind thiefs

    by nothappyinrome Written Jun 27, 2014

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    I always wanted to go to Rome so we chose to go there for our honeymoon. Now I would never ever go there again and would not recommend Rome! There are simply a lot of things wrong over there and pickpocketing is not the only problem. Ciampino airport is very small and there are not enough seating. Crossing the roads is absolutely dangerous as the "zebra crossing" are not really pedestrian crossing. Cars and mopeds go from one side when pedestrians are crossing or when the lights turn green. Most Romans are miserable, unfriendly and have bad customer service. Don't catch the bus as they are confusing where it is going and there's no signage in english or other language. So people can get lost. Also we spent a lot of money only to see the Trevi fountain, Colosseum and Spanish steps in scaffolding and not in their full glory. And the trains are old and not convenient.
    Now to the main point. I got robbed in the bus station in Termini whilst trying to get on an overcrowded bus (No. 85). A teenage girl (gypsie looking) forced her way in front of me, trying to separate me from my husband. But I managed to get in front of her. She got on the bus behind me. One minute later she got off the bus and joined her 2 other friends (also gypsie looking). Unfortunately I only noticed my purse was gone much later. I normally make sure to touch my bag or sling it in front of. When I got on the bus, my hand was not on my bag but on my husband's rucksack to prevent from separating from my husband. And I did not feel anyone tucking at my bag. I probably should have left some money inside the hotel's safe but I do not think its 100% safe. Paris, Amsterdam and even London are much better place than Rome! This whole experience has really put me off this place and left me traumatised. I also would not potentially visit the whole of Italy. I hope anyone reads that and think twice to got to Rome!

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  • Pickpocket on bus

    by MrsDM Written Jun 19, 2014

    While in Rome in June 2013, my friend caught a pickpocket with his hand in her purse (she always rested her hand inside her rather large bag without a zipper or closure). When his hand touched hers, she yelled, "Hey!" and slapped him. He just shrugged and acted innocent, as if it was a mistake. When I got back to our hotel and was looking over my cellphone pictures from the day, I had to laugh. I had a series of five photos of the culprit as he made his way from the back of the bus because I was trying to get a good shot of the crowded bus to put on Facebook. You can see in his eyes that he spotted my friend and was making a beeline toward her. Very funny in a terribly sad kind of way.

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  • brendareed's Profile Photo

    Beware of pickpockets & beggars

    by brendareed Written Jun 2, 2014

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    Pickpockets are everywhere, especially where tourists like to hang out – so take common sense precautions as you travel in Rome.

    - Don’t flash your valuables around – expensive camera equipment, lots of cash, etc.

    - Hide your passport, credit cards, and extra money in a money belt that fits under your clothing.

    - If you carry a purse, put it around your shoulders and in front of you (I see lots of ladies put them around their shoulders and then sling the purse to their backside, which is very convenient for someone to come up behind you and open up!).

    - Pay attention to your surroundings – avoid groups of people you don’t know, get away from sudden loud commotions that are created by those assisting pickpockets.

    - Watch out for the beggars (old ladies and young children) that stay with you begging for money – they may get more than you bargain for while making you uncomfortable.

    - Don’t use the hotel safe unless you have to (someone in the hotel knows how to open them in the event you forget your combination!).

    - Pickpockets are getting creative – they will dress like a tourist, act like a tourist, and go into churches like a tourist, and take your belongings while you are distracted by your surroundings (yes, even in a church!).

    - If you need to look at a map, find a wall the stand next to. Don’t stand in the middle of a piazza intent on figuring out where you are. Someone will take advantage of the situation.

    - Be extra cautious at the airport, bus station, train station, on the buses and trains, and in lines to get into popular tourist attractions.

    - Make sure all members of your group are aware and look out for each other.

    A few simple precautions can keep your vacation a happy one!

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  • ShengK's Profile Photo

    A new technique of pick pocket! careful! PLS!

    by ShengK Written Jan 16, 2013

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    i was carrying a camera bag with 3 layer of zip and taking my galaxy10.1 with me. when i was sitting the metro with my gf from trevi fountain metro back to my hotel. at Republica(a metro before termini). just when the metro stop and the door going to close. A short and fat ugly women block the door from closing and force enter the tram with another women pretending carrying a baby infront of her. She cover it with scaft. as the train was crowded. they manage to push my gf away from me and surround me. then the fat short and ugly *** that stand near me pretend normally while pushing her breast towards me. A gentleman will automatically move the hand away and the hand will block part of the sight. then the women that pretent carry baby steal my money inside my bag with the help of his fake baby covered with scarft blocking my sight. i feel something weird because they keep close to me. i wanted to move to my gf bt they wont move away. meanwhile we reaches termini station. they perposely make my galaxy tab drop into the platform . i totally panic. i have no choice but to come out from the train as they keep ask us to go out. (as i do not know my money was stolen, i go out without any choice if not i will lost my galaxy tab) this is how the whole thing happen. i realise my money was gone after i came down from train. THE WORST PART IS THE ROME POLICE! if they really wanted to catch the pickpocket. they could! because if they check the cctv camera, they would see that 2 person as they go into the train last by force opening the door which make it obvious to recognice! further more! my galaxy tab drop into the platform in termini which also causes attention! which is obvious to see their faces too! If rome police take it seriously! they could catch them! But in my case, ROME POLICE IS ***!, i went to police station after that, the rome police in termini ask me to come back by 6, after 6 they said tml. tml when i go back again, they ask us to go another police station, go another they ask u go another. after 4 or 5 diff station, at last, one finally manage to help us. and what they will do is only let u fill a form with ur detail, and tick what was stolen, when it was stolen, describe the thief and let u wait for 2 hour. after that, meet the inspecter, the inspecter key in ur detail in the computer, and ask u to leave, THATS IT! they dont even ask how or understand anything! maybe it is just too common for them! SO in conclusion? fck rome! its a stupid country!THey dont ever put any effort to improve their safety thats is why there are so many pickpocket in rome! screw it, i would never come again!

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  • Possible pickpocket

    by JoaoNascimento Updated Nov 6, 2012

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    Hi,

    Hi've been in Rome 2 years ago. All went well and I will return for sure. Before I leave I had read all the advices and took all the precautions.

    But one situation made me think that I was targeted for pickpocketing. I was in a subway station. Few people. I noted a guy, regular looking, getting closer to to us (me, my wife and 2 daughters).
    When the train arrived, the guy was going to enter the same door as we. So what I did was, as the doors were opening, I suddenly warned the family and move two doors apart.

    The guy was still slowly reaching to us, inside the train. But I gave him a clear indication that I'd spotted him. Nothing happened.

    Maybe I was being paranoid. But I took no risks.

    Apart from this and the attempt for the "child gives you a flower" scam, that I was aware of, the trip to Rome went perfect. I've never felt unsecured. I stood in an apartment in a residential neighbor and could walk in the street and return at night using the subway without any problems.

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  • Possible pickpocket

    by JoaoNascimento Updated Nov 6, 2012

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Hi,

    Hi've been in Rome 2 years ago. All went well and I will return for sure. Before I leave I had read all the advices and took all the precautions.

    But one situation made me think that I was targeted for pickpocketing. I was in a subway station. Few people. I noted a guy, regular looking, getting closer to to us (me, my wife and 2 daughters).
    When the train arrived, the guy was going to enter the same door as we. So what I did was, as the doors were opening, I suddenly warned the family and move two doors apart.

    The guy was still slowly reaching to us, inside the train. But I gave him a clear indication that I'd spotted him. Nothing happened.

    Maybe I was being paranoid. But I took no risks.

    Apart from this and the attempt for the "child gives you a flower" scam, that I was aware of, the trip to Rome went perfect. I've never felt unsecured. I stood in an apartment in a residential neighbor and could walk in the street and return at night using the subway without any problems.

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  • Caught Pickpoket!

    by AmericanGuyinUlm Written Oct 1, 2012

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    I just returned from Rome where I had a great time, but I was forewarned by coworkers and the internet to be very careful. Thanks by the way!

    We rode the subway every where which was not the best idea. VERY packed, even during the middle of the day which is why my guard was up!The first time was an early 20's guy that had a little bit of room to move back, but he was clearly invading my personal space. He was much smaller than me and I have at least 100 pounds on him, so there is no way it would have been a fair fight, but I didn't know how many of his brothers were right behind me. When the train started to slow and all the people shifted forward, that's when he made his move. I wish I would have got a picture of his face when I caught his fingers in my pocket, but I was a little busy at the time. I quietly squeezed until I heard bones break. He got off at the next stop.

    The second time I had to switch at Termini, and man was it packed. We were some of the last people on the train, but I noticed a young girl try to jump in behind us. Just as the doors we starting to close, she tried for my front pocket, and stepped back at the same time. It was a timing thing for her, she muct have practiced it a lot. I couldn't grab her lightning fast fingers, the doors shut and she was still on the station, and I was on the train on our way. I gave her a dirty look, but that is all I could do. If I hadn't had my hand on my wallet, I am sure it would have been gone.

    Two different times I caught pickpokets with fingers in my pocket. I am a large guy, and I know what to look out for, so I don't suggest everyone to do what I did. My question is, if you actually catch one of these jerks, what is your legal right to do with them? Can you force them to the nearest police? Can you punch them in the face? Can you reach in their bag to get your wallet back? I emailed the US Embassy and got no reply.

    I am also a very gifted engineer, and I can promise you, before I go back I will come up with a pickpocket deterent that might get me in trouble if I break too many fingers.

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    Europe's most creative pickpockets

    by lotharlerch Updated Sep 26, 2012

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    Pickpockets and bagsnatchers are everywhere in the world where there are big crowds of people. Their density can vary considerable. Some places have a specific bad reputation and I think Rome is a top place in this respect.

    Many places or events attract travelling pickpockets (I met one and the same in September 1996 in Odesa and April 1997 in Lisbon, his international experience did not help him towards me), friends of mine experienced successful and unsuccessful attacks of African pickpockets in Madrid in the Puerta del Sol area.

    In Rome all these jobs are done almost exclusively by locals. And the competition is very hard because almost everybody in Rome, even most tourists, are fully aware of the danger and there are so many pickpockets that they really need creativity to make their job profitable. We experienced in Rome four attacks within a few hours, one of them "successful" with a loss of a value of about 100 EUR.

    What makes the survival for so many pickpckets in Rome possible is the police. There are so many in so many different picturesque uniforms around almost everywhere except in the biotope of the pickpockets and bagsnatchers.

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Comments (2)

  • May 5, 2015 at 12:40 AM

    Pickpocketing in Rome is well known, one should be ware of it. We recently visited Rome and became victim of pickpockets while travelling on Metro train, wife had her money stolen from her purse. Police was not very helpful. So be cautious when in Rome. Pickpockets are everywhere in Rome.

    • leics's Profile Photo
      May 5, 2015 at 10:29 AM

      Exactly the same thing applies to many, many other cities worldwide, especially those which are popular with visitors from elsewhere. Rome is certainly no worse than most. Whilst I am sorry for your wife's loss, pickpockets and opportunistic thieves are very easily deterred if one uses commonsense precautions. I speak as a solo middle-aged female who has visited Rome 5 times, as well as numerous other places in Italy and other countries. I have had no issues whatsoever.

  • May 5, 2015 at 12:38 AM

    Pickpocketing in Rome is well known, one should be ware of it. We recently visited Rome and became victim of pickpockets while travelling on Metro train, wife had her money stolen from her purse. Police was not very helpful. So be cautious when in Rome. Pickpockets are everywhere in Rome.

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