Subject: Re: Pickpockets Italy
There are pickpockets all over the world and the best way to avoid them is to make your stuff less attractive than the person standing next to you. The pickpocket isn't after *your* stuff, they're just after *stuff* - and if someone else's is easier to get, then they'll take theirs.

There are certain bus routes in Rome that are famous for being targeted - check out Lets Go - they list which ones they are. A former boyfriend's mom got her camcorder stolen on one these because she made it easy to get into the outside zippered pocket of her bag where it was stashed because it was too much trouble to put it inside the bag. They riffled through my backpack too - I was standing right beside her - but took nothing because all I had was a sweater and a book in my backpack. If you have something valuable in a backpack in a place like that, take it off your back and hold it in front of you.

A former boyfriend I traveled with a lot is a professional photographer. He had a backpack modified to act as a camera bag - with different pockets for camera bodies, lenses, etc. - but that just looks like any other student backpack. Unless you saw what was inside it, you'd think it was nothing but dirty clothes. He just had a local seamstress do it, using blue camping pads as cushioning material to protect the equipment.

The gypsy children are bad around the coliseum. Don't stop to negotiate with them - just walk quickly away from them. They'll be in every pocket you've got faster than you can imagine. The key - of course - don't have anything in your pockets you care about losing.

Show good common sense, carry your passport and valuables next to your body, don't draw attention to yourself and enjoy. Most of the cases I've heard about of people getting ripped off all involve them doing something that invited it - like carrying camcorders in outside pockets of backpacks, holding an open change purse on a street corner where it was easily snatched by a moped-driving crook, gawking at buildings and paying no attention to the purse dangling at one's side. And, yes, I've seen tons of women who carry purses on trips. I even traveled with one. Once. But I won't again. One person doing something foolish like that draws attention to everyone with them. Maybe this is partly why I've grown to like solo travel... :)

I don't think Italy has a monopoly on pickpockets by any means. There are plenty of them all over the world. But, remember - if your stuff is harder to get than the next guys - they'll just take his... So, don't make it easy for them...

And - buy insurance... And leave the shot film at a safer location like the hotel. You can always replace the camera - esp. with that insurance money - but you can't recapture those events on that film.

A trick I use is I carry a few credit cards and secret them in different places - carry some with me in various places on my body and leave some at the hotel in different pieces of luggage. I figure if I get ripped off one place or the other they're not likely to get them all and I'll still be able to take care of any needs. But - hey - this is *not* a rec. method - it's only my method. It has some risks.

And, ultimately, accept that despite your best precautions, you may get ripped off anyway. Sometimes you just can't foresee all the potential problems in a situation - sometimes you don't even know about the situtation until you're in it. Being ripped off is a risk of travel but a small price to pay for the experiences. And, it can happen anywhere - my car was stolen from my work place last summer in this very small, quiet midwestern town - and I didn't even have a cool experience in exchange for the hassle.