Pickpockets and Purse-Snatchers, Rome

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  • Trevi, site of our misfortune
    Trevi, site of our misfortune
    by Maria81
  • Pickpockets are spotted all over
    Pickpockets are spotted all over
    by stev0305
  • Pickpockets and Purse-Snatchers
    by sandravdp
  • ShengK's Profile Photo

    A new technique of pick pocket! careful! PLS!

    by ShengK Written Jan 16, 2013

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    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

    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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  • Possible pickpocket

    by JoaoNascimento Updated Nov 6, 2012

    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

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    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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  • lotharlerch's Profile Photo

    Europe's most creative pickpockets

    by lotharlerch Updated Sep 26, 2012

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    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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  • Pickpockets on the Rome bus

    by FreddieH Written Jun 4, 2012

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    They work in pairs, in the very back of the bus such that there is no one behind then looking forward who might see their actions and alert the victim. They have one person in the aisle seat with a backpack on the floor or in the window seat so no one can get in and sit there. The other one stands close to the exit doors such as to confine the victim between himself and his partner. He'll invade your space in some way so as to attract your attention while the other one works. They steal at bus stops - another place where your attention is focused elsewhere (like on people getting on or off) - and where they can make a quick escape if the victim becomes aware and tries to attract attention. Avoid the back of the bus.

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  • For the Ladies...

    by StillMeSteph Written Mar 19, 2012

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    What I have found to be almost infallible in any city is to tuck larger bills or other valuables into a small pouch or slit in the lining of my bra. I know it sounds a little ghetto, but I mean even if the pick pocket is really good it's pretty hard to miss somebody reaching down your shirt! My other suggestion would be to wear a pretty flashy but cheap bracelet or ring that looks like it's worth something- a lot of times you can get them in the states out of the little vending machines they have in stores for kids. The thief then focuses on the "expensive" jewelry and leaves your real stuff alone.

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  • Best gear to NOT get pick pocketed

    by stina13 Written Mar 10, 2012

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    tshirt with secret pocket
    4 more images

    I just discovered travel clothing with built in secret pockets from the Clever Travel companion. (www.clevertrvelcompanion.com and on Amazon)

    I wore their t-shirt in Mexico last money and it was excellent. So much better than my old money belt. The shirt has a pocket on the stomach with a zipper. It is big enough fro my pasport and lots of cash. I also tried their boxers. Pretty cool looking and comfortable, with two pockets.

    No wat anyone can pickpocket me if my money is in my drawers...

    They have mens and women's underwear and tops. A bit pricey but I found some discount codes on Facebook, so it was well worth it.

    Best thing about their stuff is that there is no way I can forget my clothes and my money anywhere, i maan who forgets their shirt or boxers somewhere? In Australia last year I forgot my money belt in a bathroom stall, so.

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  • Pickpockets.. they're everywhere!

    by mtnmusic99 Written Feb 19, 2012

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Pickpockets are now an issue in most European cities but I have a fairly foolproof way of protecting myself. Whenever I'm on the street or using public transportation I don't carry a wallet. Instead I put one credit card, some cash and a copy of my passport in the top of my left sock. Over the years I've never once had my sock picked. LOL!

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  • bus 64 and airport

    by borntobetraveller Written Jan 30, 2012

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    It didnt happen to me yet however i heard my dad saying on our trip on bus 64 that goes from the vatican to termini that on this bus there are many pickpockets.I also overheard once that the airport of fiumicino, that is where my father works, it s a bit dangerous at night so please dont fall asleep and leave your baggage unattended.

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  • jancola's Profile Photo

    Pickpockets

    by jancola Updated Jan 13, 2012

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    You've read about them, and believe me, it is as bad as you've heard. Most days, I kept a lock on my travelling bag (a shoulder sack the size of a large purse) but one day I skipped it. I wanted to carry my Fodor's, but it didn't fit with the lock, so I left it off. This meant that our bag was slightly open, just a smidge. Stupid me. I may as well have worn a sign that said "ATTACK ME" in thief-speak.

    Twice that day, my boyfriend and I were accosted by pickpockets. The first time, we were coming out of a church, and a little boy came up to my boyfriend trying to sell him, literally, a piece of cardboard. While my bf looked at the kid in confusion, his mother snuck around behind him and started picking his pocket. Luckily I saw her; she snuck a map out of his pocket before I shoved bf out the door. It was a free map, so we just ran. There's no reasoning with that kind of brazen theft.

    Later, while walking slowly up a steep hill, a flock of children surrounded bf, who was carrying the offensive bag. They pinned close to him, so that he would have to push one of them over to get away. These were little kids, okay, you don't want to have to push them over. But they started reaching into bf's bag, RIGHT IN FRONT OF HIM, so he had to shove them pretty hard to get away. It was mortifying.

    Moral of this story is, no open bags. Not even a little bit.

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  • DennyP's Profile Photo

    BEWARE OF PICKPOCKETS AND BAG SNATCHERS

    by DennyP Written Jan 1, 2012

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    BE AWARE IN CROWDED AREAS WITH YOUR MONEY.

    ROME
    Rome like many wonderful European cities has much to see and do.. The ancient culture and unique architecture is such an exciting way to spend a really wonderful holiday. Rome like all capital cities in the world is not without its dangers and has a bad reputation for crime against tourists. Tourist crime in the world is getting more prevelant with many more people travelling. Being robbed of your wallet by a pickpocket or having your purse or bag snatched, will devistate the best laid plans that you have for your holiday. These people are where the tourist are in groups or crowds.The favourite places of operation are crowded areas of Train, bus, stations, Airports, busy market places and music functions, crowded restaurants and bars .So, Always Beware of your surroundings:and local scams that you hear of!!
    Do not put your bag down without some form of personal restraint.
    Do not have your bag over your shoulder put it over your neck.
    Never "flash cash" keep a low profile with your money.
    Try and have a stash on your body preferably a form of money belt.
    Never keep ALL your money in one place.
    Always have a back up card or cash or travellers cheques (seperately)..(these T C's may be an old way but are good security.SO,if you dont use them this time carry them again next time..I do and they are a good item to carry.because if you lose them you get them back!!
    Remember these people are good at what they do!!!they do it for a living.

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  • Maria81's Profile Photo

    Pickpockets

    by Maria81 Written Aug 23, 2011

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Trevi, site of our misfortune

    They are by far the most likely source of crime you're likely to see when visiting Rome (we were unlucky - or stupid - ourselves in this respect, losing about 50EUR to one of them at the Trevi Fountain).

    Pickpockets would naturally follow the tourists around, so you're much more likely to fall victim to them around crowded sights like Piazza Navona, Fountain of Trevi, the Colosseum, Piazza di Spagna and the Spanish Steps. Another popular choice are buses serving major tourist attractions (we've been told those going to the Vatican are among the worst, but have no experience of this ourselves, luckily!). The more crowded a location is, the easier their work (and the more difficult they are to catch), so keep that in mind.

    A couple of basic precautions should help reduce your chances of having your pockets picked, however:

    - No carrying money in your outside pockets (our mistake!)
    - No carrying money in an open handbag (the more elaborate the fastening, the
    - Money belts can also be risky (unless worn under clothing) as they are obvious and not that hard to slip off you in the crowd

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  • Running_Man65's Profile Photo

    Other ways to combat pickpockets

    by Running_Man65 Written Jun 13, 2011

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    I first experienced a pickpocket a few years back while in Paris. I read many of these reviews and thought my wallet was safe in my front pocket, like so many reviews say. My guard was down for a second in a busy metro station and it was gone. Fortunately, I didn't have too much in it and immediately cancelled my two credit cards. I kept "a hand" on my wallet thinking that was making it more safe. It was what probably called attention to me as a prime target.

    Anyway, you don't have to get too paranoid about it and just take some common sense measures and you should be fine. Definitely spread money around you and either use a money belt or neck wallet. I like the men's shirts that have buttoned front pockets on them. And they seem to be in fashion now as well. Additionally, bring along a few safety pins. Pin down the zippers on your backpack, bag, etc. Sure they can undo a pin, so try putting one facing one way and the other the opposite way. A simple, inexpensive and easy way to deter pickpockets. Only a minor hassle for you to undo the pins but better than the alternative. The whole idea is to make it harder for them to get your stuff and have them go find another easier target.

    Confronted by gypsy women and/or children but don't want to shove them out fo the way if they violate your space? And you're not the type to yell and act crazy to scare them off? For less than $10, get a pocket air horn from off the Internet and keep it with you if you have room on your person or in your bag/purse. With one push of a button, it'll emit a 115dB sound that can be heard up to a mile away. Maybe a little overkill but oh well. Comparitively, anything over 140db's can cause ear damage so hold it at full arms extension. Watch the gypsies/kids scatter like ants. Of course you'll draw attention from everyone else (including possible police)around, but who cares as you'll claim you were being robbed.

    Camera-wise: I never bring a camera worth more than $200. You can get a point and shoot camera for less than that. It will take stunning pictures. Unless you are a professional photo-journalist, leave your expensive stuff at home. Same principle as with jewelry, clothes, etc...Invest in an extra SD card (very inexpensive) or two. Swap them out often. That way if your camera is stolen, you still have some of the pics on the SD card you left back in your room. Same principle as keeping money, credit cards in more than one place as well as multiple copies of your documants. Or, if you have some downtime back at your hotel room, copy the pics you took to a laptop if you brought one or download them to the Internet. So if your camera goes, you'll still have some/most of the pics/vids. You probably backup files on your home computer, so same principle here.

    I am a fan of the decoy wallet. A thief knows they usually have one shot at you and they have to act fast. They'll go for the decoy. No matter how good they are at lifting a wallet, even though you might have it well secured, no one has x-ray vision and can see what is in your wallet. Well, unless you're not smart and whip it out and show everyone carelessly in a crowded place. Let 'em make off with the decoy. Stuff it with all kinds of junk. If you are ever in Las Vegas, don't turn down those x-rated cards they try to give you on the Strip. Collect a few and stuff 'em in your decoy. Surprise!

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  • Better be safe than sorry

    by realessence Updated Apr 7, 2011

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    I'd read tons of stuff on the internet that warned me about the danger of pickpockets in Rome, so I was pretty alert throughout my trip last summer. In fact, I worried about it a bit too much that my friends thought maybe I was being paranoid. And when I started to think that what I heard was exaggerated, it happened. On a crowded subway full of tourists, a gypsy woman carrying a baby in her arm walked in and stood right in front of our group. I felt that there was something suspicious about the way she dressed (she had a large piece of cloth hanging on her arm, the one that was holding a baby), so I kind of kept an eye on her. And within minutes, I saw her sneaking her other hand under that cloth trying to unzip my friend's bag (my friend was carrying her small backpack on the front, thinking it would be safer). So, I looked her right in the eyes and told my friend to step away. No one else on that train realized what was happening, though, and the woman got off at the next station. I am glad that I'd had done my research and took precaution because you know, having your valuables stolen is not just about losing your money or passport, but it will leave you with a horrible experience and negative memories about that place.

    Anyway, my point for this long essay is it is better to be on guard, especially when you are in a crowd at tourist spots. In August, almost everyone in Rome walks with a map in their hand, so there is no point pretending you're not a tourist, but at least, don't be an easy target. Look confident. Beware of a group of kids outside train stations. If they come to surround you, yell out something and chase them away. Most pickpockets will either try to create some sort of distraction, or they will use props, like newspapers or unusual large shoulder bags, to cover up their tricks, so watch out if a stranger approaches you with one. It is not wise to keep all your money in one place. I think the safest way to hide your money and credit cards is in the safety wallet that you wear underneath your clothes, but it tends to get annoying and sweaty. Another thing you could do, if you're carrying a handbag, is to use a small safety pin to prevent the bag zipper from slipping open.

    However, don't let your worries ruin your holiday. Apart from these petty crimes, Rome is a rather safe city. Opportunists are everywhere in the world. Just be careful and nothing bad will happen.

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