Pickpockets are a nuisance in Rome as in many other tourist centers. Rome is generally no less secure than other big cities. The notes listed here are valid for any city, whether Berlin, Paris, London or New York.
Where the risk is greatest
Pickpockets seek places with crowds or places where visitors are distracted. They mostly work in groups. The valuables that are stolen from you are immediately passed on to other members of the group and are gone forever. Pickpockets hit in overcrowded buses and boarding the subway. They avoid having to drive with the victim to the next stop and therefore usually steal either when boarding or when getting off. Particularly besieged by pickpockets are the metro lines A and B and the bus lines 40 and 64 between the main train station and the Vatican.
Pickpockets notice very well when you are distracted. While you are looking at goods on the market, trying to figure out which ticket to buy at the ticket machine or admiring the view from the Angel Bridge, you will be an easy victim.
How to recognize pickpockets
You can not necessarily recognize if the distinguished elderly gentleman next to you is a pickpocket or a group of 8-14 year-old children who might be accompanied by a musician. You may come across children holding up an illegible sign, and while you’re trying to decipher it, badges and wallets are gone. Especially in public transport, gangs of minors drive around. They can hardly be prosecuted by the authorities, since most of the children are not yet of the age of criminal responsibility.
You should be careful when dealing with people who propose to help you with ticket machines and with fortune tellers who make your precious ring disappear in a variety of petticoats.
Even to friendly students who ask for a signature against AIDS or against injustice in the world, you should keep distance.
Do not get begged and do not start looking for your wallet, it will probably not last much longer. Never handle the purse in front of strangers.
Get an idea of the beggars who are looking for your attention:
Recently, there are reports of thieves who disguise themselves as backpackers and ask you, laboriously with the city map, to ask for directions.
Thieves mostly work in the group. Be careful when someone steps on your feet. While you are distracted, another makes your money and phone disappear.
Some general security rules are:
Do not allow strangers to approach you
Many street vendors ask you how you are, where you come from or stretch out the hand to welcome you. Ignore them and just keep going. Do not give your hand to anyone! Do not stop and do not stand still!
Do not expose yourselves to glory
Do not drape yourself like a Christmas tree with jewelery, photo cameras and handbags. Also chest bags disappear easily unexpected through the straight closing door of the metro train. Everything should be so strong that it can not be easily torn off. Your bags and handbags should be lockable and closed.
Do not play around with the mobile phone or other electronic devices
If you want to keep them longer, keep them inaccessible. If you use it, hold it firmly in your hand.
Do not reveal where your money, documents and phone is kept
You should always be able to have access and to prevent access of others. When you keep the wallet in your pocket, put your hands on, when you are in a crowd on the bus or in the metro.
Do not stand in the metro close to the door
A classic is that your property disappears along with the thief through the closing door of the train. Perhaps the thief smiles you also friendly from the outside, or pulls faces after he has torn you off the chest bag or the handbag.
Preparation of your trip
So you do not have to fiddle around everywhere with money or credit cards in Rome, you should buy the necessary tickets and the public transport tickets in advance. You save valuable time in Rome and reduce the risk of being robbed in Rome.