Before leaving for Rome, countless people advised me about the pickpocketing situation.
As I mentioned in An Introduction to Studying Abroad…It Can Be Scary, pickpocketing is one of the biggest fears of students studying abroad in Rome, but you can prepare and be aware.
I heard stories about phones being taken right out of people’s pockets and little children stealing wallets. Needless to say, I was pretty worried about getting pickpocketed in Rome. So for my trip, I took the necessary precautions.
Many people may suggest buying belts or pockets, but a friend of mine suggested buying an anti-theft purse. The purse I bought was great because the strap and purse itself could not be cut by a knife, there were locks on each of the openings, and the purse had RFID blocking technology. I appreciated having more room to put my things in (and on many occasions my friends asked me to hold their things). If you’re interested I suggest checking out the link below of the purse that I bought:
For those of you who don’t want to carry around a purse (don’t worry guys I didn’t forget about you), I suggest buying a RFID blocking wallet. I wanted to be very cautious so I bought a simple RFID blocking wallet. If you’re interested, check out the link below of the wallet I bought:
If you go to Italy prepared, your life should be much easier when it comes to pickpocketers, but buying anti-theft materials is not going to stop the thieves.
While you are in Italy, you must be AWARE of your surroundings at ALL times. Especially, if you are using public transportation or are in a very crowded tourist attraction.
When going on public transportation, if you have a bag with you, make sure that you keep your bag in front of you and watch it the entire time. If you keep anything in your pockets, make sure that you either hold on to it or are VERY aware if it is still there.
One of the most common situations when people are pickpocketed is on public transportation. Children will run on the Metro, tram, or bus grab things right before the next stop and run off at the next stop. If you see large groups of children who don’t look like they are heading home from school, watch them very closely.
Another common situation for being pickpocketed is when you are in large, crowded tourist attractions. Thieves know that tourists will not be paying attention so they take advantage. If you are visiting the Colosseum, the Pantheon, or any other tourist spot WATCH YOUR THINGS. It is easy to get caught up in the historical, beautiful settings, but you need to be aware of where your belonging are at ALL times.
My last piece of advice about pickpocketers comes from a former Roman citizen. I met the former Roman at an orchestra concert oddly enough and he used to be a tour guide in Rome. He told me stories about how the people to watch were the children who looked like they had not eaten, showered, or gone to school in a very long time. He told me that they would travel in groups together and would use any means necessary to distract tourists while the rest of the group grabbed their belongings. While it is sad to see these malnourished children, they are trying to STEAL all of your belongings. While they are not the only people trying to pickpocket tourists, they are the majority.
While the idea of travelling to a city with picpocketers is scary, you can survive it. During my time in Rome, I never had anything stolen and there were only two cases I heard of my classmates having minor problems.