Rome pickpockets avoid

Rome Pickpockets: What to Expect & How to Avoid Becoming A Victim

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Wherever you travel in the world, popular tourist areas also attract a criminal element, and Rome pickpockets are definitely an issue you need to prepare for.

But despite being an issue, they are not going to ruin your stay in Rome, here is our guide to knowing what to look for and how to avoid becoming a victim of these criminals.

How to Spot Pickpockets in Rome

One of the best ways to avoid becoming a victim of Rome pickpockets is to know how to spot them.

If you see them coming, you can protect yourself and avoid them. However, that is easier said than done.

Forget the image you have of scruffy-looking groups or people acting suspiciously, that is not what pickpocketing in Rome looks like.

How to spot and avoid pickpockets in Rome

More often than not, you will find Gypsy pickpockets in Rome working in pairs or larger groups. One or two will cause a distraction while another steals from the tourist.

They will be smartly dressed, pretty girls and charismatic men who command attention. There are also child pickpockets in Rome, who work in gangs.

They use similar tactics, some may beg or offer to sell you something, and while you are dealing with them, others will steal your bag, wallet, or whatever.

Tip – Rome pickpockets come in all shapes and sizes, so spotting them is more about the behavior than the way they look. There are a number of strategies they use, and if you can spot those, you can see who the pickpockets in Rome are.

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Pickpocketing Techniques You Should Expect

Italian pickpockets use many of the tactics you would see in any major city in Italy and across Europe.

They rely on distraction and crowds, and that distraction could be:

  • handing you a leaflet
  • begging for money
  • asking you to take a picture for them
  • asking directions
  • trying to sell you something or any number of other things

The goal for European pickpockets is to get you to take your hand off your bag and focus on them, then, the others in the team will take your property.

Most common pickpocketing techniques in Rome

Pickpocketing in Rome can also be opportunistic, rather than having someone distract you.

A lone pickpocket may just hang around crowded areas, near street sellers, for instance, where people are busy dealing with food, wallets, and more at once, and use that as their opportunity to steal your belongings.

Rome pickpockets are always looking for distraction, whether they cause it or not.

Hotspots for Pickpocketing in Rome

The more crowded an area is, with the hustle and bustle of people just sightseeing, buying from traders, and so on, the easier it is for Rome pickpockets to succeed.

This means areas such as the Spanish Steps or Trevi Fountain, where you get lots of people spending time just raking in the scenery, are particular favorites of the pickpockets.

Hotspots pickpocketing Rome tourist attractions

However, probably the most common area for pickpockets to target tourists is when you are getting around the city.

A pickpocket in Rome subway has plenty of cover, as the area is always busy, people are in a rush, and for tourists, more focused on finding the right route than paying attention to their bags.

A great example of this is the bus 64 Rome pickpockets, who use probably the most crowded bus in Rome, to carry out their crimes.

Bus 64 takes you from the terminus to Vatican City, so it is an incredibly popular journey, and every bus on the route is always packed with people.

Pickpockets in Rome termini will identify tourists and either steal from them while they look for the bus or follow them on and steal during the crowded journey.

It is not just once you are in the city either; you will also find them when you arrive.

Pickpockets Rome airport travelers encounter use the fact that when arriving somewhere new, we tend to be excited and distracted by the new surroundings.

And are more focused on finding our way around than paying attention to people looking through or taking bags.

Tip – In any crowded area, there is a chance of Rome pickpockets working, and if you stop for a rest at a café, especially with outdoor seating, remember to keep your bag on the table where you can see it too.

If you want to avoid those pesky pickpockets (well, at least during your journey from the airport to your hotel), then I highly suggest checking out the airport transfer service offered by Online Travel Card. They'll take care of getting you from the airport to your destination in Rome, so you can relax and enjoy your trip without worrying about your valuables.

Rome Pickpocket Statistics – Is it Really a Problem?

Rome pickpocket statistics and facts

In terms of overall crime, Rome sits 7th in Italy, significantly lower than Milan, for instance.

In fact, Italy is getting safer as a whole, with pickpocketing incidents across the country falling by 30% in the last few years.

But if we look at Rome pickpockets in particular, incidents have fell, however, there is no doubt that professional pickpockets remain active and are targeting tourists.

Is it a problem? If you pay attention to your surroundings and remain focused, you can spend your time in Rome safely and enjoy all it has to offer.

How Bad Is Pickpocketing in Rome?

Metro in Italy

We have already mentioned some of the hotspots, but in general, any crowded or busy area may find active pickpockets.

They are always looking for an easy opportunity, when you are buying from a vendor and not watching your bag, in busy areas like the Colosseum, where you are busy enjoying your surroundings and so on.

However, while Rome pickpockets are going to be in the tourist areas you want to visit, by following a few tips and paying attention to what is going on around you, Rome pickpockets do not have to be a problem for you.

How to Avoid Pickpockets in Rome – Top 3 Tips

Tips on how to avoid pickpockets in Rome

The key to avoiding pickpockets in Rome is to be alert to your surroundings, but while this is good practice when traveling anywhere, there are a few other things you can do to help you during your stay in Rome.

Here are our top tips to make sure the pickpocketing Rome suffers from won’t ruin your stay in this wonderful city.

1. Buy Tickets in Advance

Pickpockets in Rome are always looking for easy targets, places where people are crowded together and distracted. Queues to get into major attractions, including many of the museums and monuments, and especially around Vatican City, are prime areas for pickpocketing.

If you buy tickets in advance, you skip the lines and avoid putting yourself in that position. It also means faster access to the things you want to see too, and you can fit more sightseeing in during your day. Always buy tickets in advance; it gives you a better experience.

2. Dress to Impress

Rome pickpockets are always on the lookout for tourists. If you don’t look like a tourist avoiding pickpockets in Rome becomes much easier.

Locals tend to dress smarter. The men don’t wear shorts when wandering around the city and are more likely to have a shirt on that a Tee, women wear smart dresses or skirts with a more formal top.

Go for understated colors on your outfit. Bright and bold colors can make you stand out as a tourist.

Tip – Avoid walking around with a camera on show too. Keep your bag as small as possible, leave valuables in the hotel safe if you don’t need them, and pickpocketing Rome should not be a problem.

3. The Right Bag

Pickpockets Rome airport avoid

Think about the bag you take with you. A backpack can seem practical, but you can’t see it.

A good pickpocket in Rome can open it and remove your possessions without you realizing it. A backpack also tells everyone you are a tourist too, so leave that at the hotel.

Instead, use a small purse or messenger bag, something that has a strap that goes across the body. You can keep your hand on it to know it isn’t being opened, and it is much more difficult to remove and impossible to do so without you noticing.

When in crowded areas, hold your bag in front of you, so it is always in sight. The same when buying anything.

We Highly Recommend You Take Travel Insurance

For peace of mind when it comes to Rome pickpockets or any other aspect of your trip, we recommend you take out travel insurance.

You can enjoy your time knowing you are covered if anything goes wrong, it is well worth the small premium it costs simply for that alone.

Rome Pickpockets FAQs

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How do I stop pickpockets in Rome?

Be vigilant, avoid looking like a tourist and take a bag with a strap that goes across your body. Buy tickets in advance to avoid queues and watch your bag closely in crowded areas. With these measures you can avoid being a victim of Rome pickpockets.

How not to get pickpocketed in Rome?

Pickpockets target busy areas such as the airport, tourist attractions and buses, so be alert when around others and keep your bag or other valuables in front of you where you can see them. Avoid backpacks or walking around with expensive camera equipment, and try to blend in with the locals rather than looking like a tourist.

What do pickpockets in Rome look for?

Rome pickpockets are looking for tourists mainly, and crowds. They use the crowded nature of buses, the main attractions and so on as ways to distract you, and then steal when you are not looking. A backpack is the perfect bag for a pickpocket, they can get into it and steal your possessions without you even noticing.

What is the worst bus for pickpockets in Rome?

Bus 64, the route from the bus terminus to Vatican City is the busiest in Rome, and is definitely the worst. Rome bus 64 pickpockets will follow tourists and try to steal from them at the terminus or on the bus itself, and because it is so popular, and crowded all day, they will constantly target travelers on bus 64.


Rome pickpockets can be a worry, as they can be in most major cities across Europe and elsewhere.

However, if you take some precautions and stay alert, they should not put you off a trip to this amazing city.

Buy tickets in advance to avoid the wait times in popular areas and take other precautions, and you can have a great time in Rome without a problem.

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