At the main entrace of Castello Sforzesco, I was approached by a young girl holding a cardboard with one hand, standing real close to me and trying to show or tell me something in italian. Watch out for her other hand, hidden beneath the cardboard out of sight, in my pocket!
I managed to stepped away in time and shouted at her, scaring her away.
The Metro is a great way to get around Milan, but try to avoid traveling on it during commute hours. When half of Milan is crammed into the cars like sardines, it's very easy for pickpockets to ply their trade. I know from experience, because my husband had his wallet lifted near Cairoli on the red line during the morning rush.
Men: Carry your wallet in your front pocket, or (better still) zipped into the inside pocket of your jacket. My husband had been doing that, but on that morning, out of habit, he had put his wallet into his back pocket. It didn't stay there for long!
Women: Keep your purse zipped, wear the strap crossed over your body, and keep your hand on it at all times.
Looking back, I think I know exactly who the pickpocket was: an old man who was sharing our pole on the Metro train. He was in a long overcoat and carried a small black cloth shopping bag. I actually had my eye on him because I thought he was suspicious: he was leaning heavily into my arm when there was no reason to do so - the train wasn't going around a corner and was traveling at a steady speed. He was probably leaning over to lift my husband's wallet and drop it into his shopping bag. Such an easy thing to do - steal a wallet and get off at the next stop. Get on another train and repeat.
It was a total drag, spending hours on the phone to put a stop on our credit card accounts and having to come up with another way to pay our hotel bill.
The only good thing about the whole experience was the police officer we spoke to at the station near the Duomo. He was so nice to us, apologizing on behalf of the city and saying that he hoped it wouldn't ruin our trip. He told us, when I asked, that it was helpful to file an official report because pickpockets are often interested only in cash, so there's a chance you could recover your wallet and the rest of the contents.
The Central Station and the Piazza del Duomo are #1 prime locations where you will be targeted. Keep an eye on your possessions at all times. Don't walk around staring at all the lovely structures that you are oblivious to your purses, pockets, cameras or backpacks. I did notice a lot of suspicious looking men that would walk circles around you and make it look like they themselves were lost or confused. My speaking Italian gave them the indication that I was not an easy target as I would be able to describe them to the police need be...Just be on the lookout. Don't be flashy with your belongings and don't walk with your head in the clouds!
Watch out when you arrive from the airport by bus to the central station. Thiefs are waiting for you to get off the coach especially if you are carrying a bag that contains a laptop and as you collect your baggage from beneath the coach. One person will approach you and perhaps ask directions in Italian to distract you whilst his accomplice will move pass and lift your bag. This happened to me and bag and guy was gone in 3 seconds. I reported to the Police and this is a well known trick at this location. Beware..................
Around the Stazzione Cadorna (rail station) we were hassled by a couple of persistant female beggars carrying cardboard signs. Whilst holding the cardboard at an angle and jabbering away in Italian, they then used a free hand to try and pick pocket my sister. Fortunately they didn't get anything this time but it was quite scary.
Make sure your purses and wallets are in inside pockets, or zipped up. Hopefully our experience is not a common occurance.
As in most cities, just be aware of pick pockets, the area around the cathedral gets busy and crowded and its easy for them to get near to you...
just be carefull and keep your wits about you!
Also dont stop and take one of the 'free' wrist friendship bands off the people who approach you - they are never free & then they keep you talking or worse...
please be careful expecially when you get off form the metro and in crowded places!!1 some criminal could take your moneypocket or mobile -phone and is not easy to discover it! be carfeul if someone clash you.
Milan is a crowded city with busy streets. Especially on touristic or shopping areas, there will be lots of people. Always be careful about pickpockets. When you realize that your phone, wallet or bag is missing, it is too late. Try to keep your valuable things safe by carrying them in a proper way.
I've travelled several times to some of the biggest city in the world New york, Tokyo, London, etc and none of this places have pickpocketing issues like Italy!! So all of you that write that "like in all other major cities pickpocketing is a problem". It's really not!! Milan and Firenze is far worst!! Don't defend this issue by saying that it's the same everywhere else. There are serious problems in the Italian society that allow this. And don't say it's just gypsies that does this.
just returned from a trip milan to geneve by rail, and their ws a sad occurance on the train two japanese women were helped on the train with their cases by two eastern european men, their seats were some way away from their cases, after stresa they went to get something from their bags and they were gone unfortunately they had left money passports the lot in thier bags, as stresa was the first stop it is clear what has happened, the train condutors were no use, and this could be a regular occurance, as seat tickets can force you to sit away from luggage storage areas, as thier are only a limited amount of stops it would be wise to check on your bags prior to each stop or have them in vision if you can.
brian tracey scotland
Milan is just like any big city, you need to watch your stuff. There are a lot of pickpockets. Watch what areas you walk in at night, avoid being around the train stations (Centrale and one side of Garibaldi) For the most part I felt very safe in Milan, just be aware of who is around you. The Metro, trams and buses are very popular with pickpockts anytime of day. The red and green lines which seem to be a bit worse than the yellow.
As in any big city, be aware of yourself and your belongings. Think and act smart. Even if you have no idea where you are, don't look like you're lost in the street, stop to consult a shopkeeper for directions or look at your map in an area away from bustling crowds. Pickpockets and panhandlers (gypsies) work the streets of Milan, so be smart with your wallet, passport, and posessions.
If you look like a tourist (maps, cameras, etc) you will be approached by groups of child beggars with newspapers. The idea is that they will overwhelm you and pick your pockets. Be aggressive and forceably push them away.
Milan is a very big city so you should be aware of any danger that you normally face in a such city like beggers and pickpockers. Specially on the metro and the tram. crowded areas like c.so galleria v Emanuele and nearby the station..also be aware in some parts and nearby the Parco Sempione (Milan's drug-park)
Milan is a big city. You have always to pay attention to your belongings especially when on the underground and I wouldn't walk alone in parks at night.
But a part from this the city is quite safe during the day, everywhere and during the night in the center.