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Rome Vs. New York City

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Rome Vs. New York City

Hello all,

I've been reading the Rome Forum in preparation to my upcoming trip to Rome. I've noticed many posts referencing purse/wallet snatchings and general tourist's traps. Is this a case of people exaggerating? As a New Yorker, I'm used to being on alert at all times. Will I be ok listening to my Iphone on the train like I do in NYC? I'm just looking for some perspective.

I have to add that I've visited London and Paris and found both perfectly safe, and didn't have any issues.


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1. Re: Rome Vs. New York City

I don't think Rome is any worse than Paris. I can't recall any significant number of warnings about snatching of purses or wallets in Rome: it is not something that happens often. Any kind of violent crime against tourists is very rare in Italy.

In both Paris and Rome (and many other European cities), you have to be alert for very skilled pickpockets who will remove your wallet or purse without you even noticing.

If you use your iPhone on the metro, it will not be snatched. But if you put it away somewhere insecure, such as an outside pocket of a backpack, it may not be there the next time you want to use it.

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2. Re: Rome Vs. New York City

You will be fine in Rome. I grew up in NY and I've lived in London. Rome is safe even without your NYC radar. There are outer areas of Rome that you would have reason to go that might be sketchy but tourists have no reason to go there. FYI walking/talking with a smart phone in the Financial District in San Francisco has become a bad idea. Recently phones have been the target of snatch/runs in daylight. Ive not heard of this happeing in Rome but it makes sense to use common sense everywhere.


Edited: 25 December 2011, 23:41
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3. Re: Rome Vs. New York City

Thank you for the quick response.

Farra, smart Phones are a hot item to snatch is NYC as well, but as with everything, you have to exercise good judment.

I read a few posts about pick pockets in Rome, and there were many people posting having experienced it. I thought It seemed out of the ordinary from other large city forums, so I thought to ask.

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4. Re: Rome Vs. New York City

You would not cram into a crowded subway with your purse hanging behind you and I doubt that you would do that in Rome. There are definitely pickpockets in Rome mostly where they can find tourists. If you have been in Times Sq, Herald Sq crowded subways and buses etc you will be more than ok in Rome. Just play by NYC rules.

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5. Re: Rome Vs. New York City

If you use the precautions you would in New York you'll be fine. There are pick pockets and they do take advantage of people who are distracted but if are cautious and don't make yourself a target you should be fine. I have never had a problem and I've been going to Rome several times a year for 8 years now. If you are going to use your phone on the metro just be sure to have any bags on your lap or in front of you where you can keep an eye on them.


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6. Re: Rome Vs. New York City

Have been to Rome several times as well as almost every metropolitian city in Europe I never had a concern. I agree with the above post by dbabe. Use precautions. Happy travels!

Edited: 26 December 2011, 03:25
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7. Re: Rome Vs. New York City

There are pickpockets in Rome, and they generally work in crowded situations or in situations where people are distracted.

Your radar is tuned to NYC. In Rome, you won't be as familiar with the conditions or, indeed, with the subway stops. You might be wiser *not* to listen to your IPhone on the Metro, if you can manage to do without it for the 10-20 minutes you're likely to be on it.

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8. Re: Rome Vs. New York City

Living in Rome for years - and as Zerlina suggests, being familiar with the area, the bus and metro stops, the "regulars," etc. - we never had ANY issues with pickpockets or petty theft in Rome. But like you living in NYC, we developed a sense for Rome's "moments of opportunity." It does happen though. One of friends who lived in Rome - Jim - was pickpocketed twice in downtown Rome in less than six months.

As a visitor you might make some preparations in advance in case you do have an issue (http://tinyurl.com/prepare-Italy) but your greatest protection will undoubtedly be an awareness of your surroundings. Living in NYC, you probably have a higher sense of awareness than many folks - certainly better than me before I moved to Rome!

I have seen pickpockets in action, or the results of petty theft on the bus, the metro, at markets, and in crowds in Rome. Most of the targets were tourists because ...well, they have the money and they are usually in unfamilar and sometimes confusing surroundings. I'd recommend a money belt or some other form of "internal security." This past summer in Spain we had our first "bad experience" with a pickpocket team - you can read about that here: http://tinyurl.com/pkpt-Rome

As mentioned, violent crime against tourists is really not prevelant. It's mostly "crime of opportunitiy" and that usually involves stealth. So you may never know you've been pickpocketed until you reach for your cash or wallet when making a purchase. Again, a money-belt or some other "security" system is a great deterent for a traveler. I just used one on our seven day trip last week of the Christmas markets in Germany and Austria - which are often very crowded.

I understand the concerns travelers have about pickpockets.. we travel often in all parts of Europe. Yet in general I find the streets of Londn, Paris, Rome, Madrid - and even Granada where my wife was targeted - far safer than larger cities in the US.

The biggest issue if you suffer a loss is not the cash - or even the credit cards - it's the disruption to your vacation (valuable time lost) and the feeling of being violated that may pervade the remainder of your trip.

In our case, we HAD done all the "pre-trip" preparation, I did keep our ID (passports) secured, and we did have separate accounts to utilize. Our only disruption was calling the credit card companies - whose numbers we had programmed into our international phones. It was a 15 minute disruption.That's not to say my wife was not unhappy! She felt terrible that she'd been "taken"...

But whenever this topic comes up... the posts sometimes go on endlesly. Frankly, with proper preparation, planning, and "protection" it's a NON-ISSUE for 99% of folks traveling in Italy - yet that 1% generates tremendous negative perceptions. Speaking with our Italian neighbors who lived in our apt. building they just did not understand the tremendous amount of negativity and fear of the American tourist towards Rome - after all, they would tell me ... they watched US television programs EVERY night on Italy TV and it appeared that the US had far bigger problems than Rome.

I'd imagine that even if you're lost, confused, or don't understand the language... if you're prepared this experience might be the highlight of your trip! We usually find the best shop, restaurants, etc when we're lost. Heck, we were lost 4 or 5 times last week on our trip. So be preapred and embrace the differences!

With preparation, I think, like most folks who come to Italy for the first time, you'll be surprised by the "safer" environment.... and you'll be back!

9. Re: Rome Vs. New York City

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