Latest European Pickpocketing Index reveals most affected cities with Italy at No.1 spot, tips for travellers to stay safe


    14th April 2023 – (Rome) As summer travel begins to ramp up, safety is a top priority for many travellers. After a year of limited international travel due to the pandemic, travellers may be a little rusty when it comes to keeping their valuables safe.

    The European Pickpocketing Index, compiled by UK-based insurance comparison website, ranked European travel destinations based on the proportion of pickpocketing mentions in visitor reviews of a country’s top five tourist attractions on Tripadvisor. The top European countries with the most pickpocketing mentions are Italy, France, Netherlands, Germany, Greece, Spain, Portugal, Turkey, Ireland, and Poland.

    In Italy, the standard advice to “look like a local” isn’t always helpful as even well-dressed Italians can fall prey to pickpockets. Instead, cultivating situational awareness and confidence, understanding the context of where you are, what other people are doing, and what is appropriate in that setting can make all the difference.

    Pickpockets are known to target the distracted, including those who are tired from a long flight, swamped with heavy bags, visibly lost, or overwhelmed with their surroundings. They also stage distractions of their own, such as fake altercations or spilling drinks or ice cream on you. If you feel like you’re being targeted, it’s essential to secure your bag, assume the person you’re dealing with is not acting alone, and don’t be afraid to draw attention to what’s happening.

    Crowded public transportation routes in big cities and major rail stations like Milano Centro, Roma Termini, and Florence’s Santa Maria Novella are pickpocket hotspots, as are express airport trains in Milan, Rome, and Pisa. When travelling to or from the airport, make sure your suitcases are locked, and keep a hand on your personal bag at all times. When using city buses or metro lines, try to avoid peak hour rush.

    Travellers should also exercise caution in specific city locations, including the Ponte Vecchio and San Lorenzo Market, around the Duomo, and outside the Uffizi and Accademia galleries in Florence, as well as its central bus lines 7 and 10 and regional services to Livorno. In Rome, pickpocket hotspots include the Spanish Steps, Pizza di Spagna, the Coliseum queues, and the streets around the Vatican, as well as Trastavere’s terrace dining at night and the No. 64 bus. In Verona, travellers should be careful around the Portoni della Bra and the crowded porto to the centro storico.

    According to new research by, thousands of travellers have experienced petty theft while visiting Europe’s top destinations. While travellers can’t entirely avoid being a target, simple measures such as carrying a small cross-body bag, worn to the front, and only carrying one credit or travel cash card, stored in a safe or locked luggage at accommodation, can mitigate risk. Travellers should also keep records of bank and credit cards digitally and on a hard copy print-out and only carry small amounts of cash for drinks and snacks. ATMs away from major sights should be used, and travellers should always be attentive to who is around them when withdrawing money.

    If you do fall victim to a theft, cancel your cards as soon as possible and head to a police station to make a report. Ensure you receive full documentation and check for your wallet or bag in nearby rubbish bins and gutters. Some pickpockets only want cash or late-model unlocked phones and will quickly discard all else.