Crime rate in Italy
The crime rate in Italy varies considerably from region to region but is generally around average for Europe. Violent crime is rare in most areas, although muggings do occur in resort areas and cities.
South of Italy
Foreigners should take care when travelling in the south of Italy, where highway robbery and kidnappings of foreigners occasionally take place. Despite the fearsome reputation of the Mafia, however, there’s less violent street crime such as muggings and robbery with violence in most parts of Italy than in many other European countries, and it’s generally a very safe place for children. Sexual harassment can be a problem for women in some areas, although most men draw the line at cat-calls and whistles.
Beware of bag snatchers
In towns and cities, beware of bag snatchers, who operate on foot, on scooters and motorcycles or even in cars. Always carry bags slung across your body with the clasp facing inwards. Make sure they have a strong strap that cannot easily be cut – if they don’t, carry them firmly in your hand. Bags that are worn around the waist are vulnerable and should be avoided, as should back-packs, which can easily be cut.
Wear money belt
One of the most effective methods of protecting your passport, money and credit cards is with an old-fashioned money belt (worn under your clothing) or a pouch on a string or strong cord around your neck. It’s also recommended to keep money and credit cards in separate places and a copy of important documents such as your passport in a safe place.
Pickpockets and bag-snatchers are a problem in the major cities, where the street urchins are highly organised and trained pickpockets. They try to surround you and often use newspapers or large pieces of cardboard to distract you and hide their roaming hands. Keep them at arm’s length, if necessary by force, and keep a firm grip on your valuables.
What to do if were robbed?
If you’re the victim of a crime, you should report it to the nearest police station or to the local. You can report it by telephone but must go to the station to complete a report, of which you receive a copy for insurance purposes. Don’t, however, expect the police to find your belongings or even take any interest in your loss. Report a theft to your insurance company as soon as possible.