Crime in Rome is statistically in the middle range. The center of Rome is basically safe, but there is a significant problem with pickpockets.
Rome is basically no more dangerous than other cities and pickpockets are everywhere. Of course, you need to be careful, just like in any other city. Read here where it can be dangerous in Rome and how to protect yourself.
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Thefts are the biggest problem in Rome. Pickpockets look for places with crowds or places where visitors are distracted. They usually work in groups. The valuables that are stolen from you are immediately passed on to other members of the group and are gone forever.
The biggest problem is not the loss of money and credit cards, but the loss of identification documents. Obtaining replacement documents takes a lot of time and nerves. Therefore, store money, cards and documents in such a way that they are out of reach of thieves.
Criminals from all over the world engage in pickpocketing in Rome. Among them are also children who are not yet of age to commit a crime.
Thieves also disguise themselves as backpackers and, awkwardly fumbling with a map, ask you for directions.
Be careful if someone bumps into you or steps on your toes. While you are distracted, someone else makes your money and phone disappear.
You should be cautious when dealing with people who offer to help you at ticket machines and fortune tellers who make your valuable ring disappear into a multitude of petticoats.
You should also keep your distance from nice students who ask for a signature against AIDS, COVID or against injustice in the world.
In principle, pickpocketing can happen anywhere. But there are some particularly dangerous zones.
In the zone around Termini Station up to Piazza della Repubblica, 40-50 thefts are reported every day.
To buy a ticket from the machine, you pull out money or a credit card and the thief knows where your valuables are. While you are pulling the ticket, your bag disappears forever. At the bar, you put your bag next to you. You take a quick look in the other direction and the bag is gone.
Bus line 64
Notorious are the lines 40 and 64 that go from Termini to the Vatican. In the crowds getting on and off and in crowded buses, there are many opportunities for pickpockets.
It is especially dangerous when boarding the metro. Backpacks with many pockets and zippers are especially inviting for pickpockets. They also like to snatch their victim’s chest pouch or bag from their hand while the doors of the train are closing.
Markets and supermarkets
Pickpockets notice very precisely when you are distracted. While you are looking at merchandise at the market or store, your money and phone disappear. The Porta Portese flea market and the Mercato Esquilino near Termini station are particularly notorious.
Crowds are the ideal workplace for pickpockets. Therefore, pay special attention to your valuables when standing close together with other people, such as at the Trevi Fountain or in front of the Colosseum. There is also often jostling in the narrow streets around the Trevi Fountain.
Beggars often kneel in pitiful positions in the middle of the sidewalk. Criminal organizations are often behind them.
Don’t be begged or start rummaging around for your wallet, it will probably not be with you for long. Fiddle never with the purse in front of strangers.
It gets embarrassing when the beggars start arguing among themselves. The video was recorded at the exit from St. Peter’s Basilica:
Scammers are good storytellers. He was robbed and now needs the money for a ticket. But he has a valuable watch that he is offering you at a ridiculous price. Of course you would like to help and give him 50 or 100 euros for the valuable piece. Later you will discover that it is not even worth 5 euros.
A representative remains on the goods that a store has ordered and not accepted. He shows you valuable shirts and suits and you can determine the price. Most of the time you offer too much. Otherwise he just goes and takes the goods back with him.
Rules of conduct
Some general safety rules are:
Don’t let strangers approach you.
Many street vendors will ask you how you are, where you are from, or extend their hand in greeting. Ignore them and just keep walking. Do not shake hands with anyone! Don’t let them stop you and don’t stop!
Do not expose yourself with valuables
Do not hang yourself like a Christmas tree with jewelry, cameras and handbags. Chest bags also like to disappear through the door of the metro train that is just closing. Everything should be sturdy enough not to be easily torn off. Bags and handbags should be lockable and locked.
Do not leave your things lying around. Don’t hang your bags over a chair in a restaurant and don’t leave your shopping bags unattended.
Don’t play around with your cell phone or other electronic devices
If you wanted to keep them longer keep them out of reach. If you are using them, hold them firmly in your hand.
Do not let anyone see where you keep your money, documents and phone
You should have access yourself at all times and be able to prevent unauthorized access. If you keep your wallet in your pocket, put your hands in your pockets in crowds, on the bus, and on the subway.
Don’t stand close to the door on the metro
A classic is to have your belongings disappear with the thief through the closing door of the metro. Maybe the thief smiles at you from the outside or makes faces at you after having snatched your chest bag or handbag before.
So that you don’t have to mess around with money or credit cards everywhere in Rome, you should buy the necessary entrance tickets and tickets for public transport online in advance. This saves you valuable time in Rome and reduces the risk of being robbed.
You can buy all entrance tickets, tours and train tickets online and save them on your mobile phone. Whether it’s St. Peter’s Basilica, the Colosseum or the Hop on Hop off buses, it is sufficient to show your electronic ticket everywhere.
Unfortunately, there are also frequent break-ins and theft of cars in Rome. Cars with foreign license plates, in particular, are a magical attraction for thieves. Therefore, do not leave valuables and luggage in the car.
Camping vehicles are particularly popular with thieves. Campers keep getting lost in Rome. Therefore, do not park your camper unsupervised and book an official camping site for your stay.
Things can get unpleasant after midnight in the station area and in Trastevere. There are often fights and brawls between drunks. In the extreme eastern periphery around Via Casilina and Via Tiburtina, you should not necessarily walk at night, nor in parks and green areas such as Villa Borghese or Pineta Sacchetti.