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Red flag: British Foreign Office warns Rome tourists
26/Aug/2014
Red flag: British Foreign Office warns Rome tourists
ITALY (eTN) – The Mayor of Rome, Ignazio Marino, calls recent tourist warnings false and misleading, and says "the Romans are offended by the warning."

After 32 police arrests during the month of August (excluding those who did not report a theft) for pickpocketing at the expense of mostly foreign tourists, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Great Britain published a warning on Rome to warn British tourists about the risks of “bag snatching and pick-pocketing” (literally stealing suitcases and pickpocketing) in major Italian cities and especially in Rome.

The website of the British Ministry suggests to pay attention in particular to the “crowded areas of Rome, around the Termini railway station, and on the 64 bus line which goes directly to the Vatican.” And once on board the train from Termini to Fiumicino, it is recommended to oversee bags and luggage.

The measure, which in fact confirms a similar action made last year, has provoked the strong reaction of the Mayor of Rome, Mr. Ignazio Marino, who judged the announcement “false and misleading.”

"In fact,” said Marino, “as I pointed out to the British Ambassador in Italy, there are international irrefutable data which show that London is, from the point of view of crime, much more dangerous than Rome."

The warning launched by the United Kingdom is followed by the Ministries of Foreign Affairs and also of the United States, France, and Germany, and the press of various countries these days is giving a decided prominence to the news so as to make an alarming loss of image for Italy.

Every country alerts travelers using calm tones, but the concept is clear: when in Rome, more attention is needed on personal items due to pick-pocketing and petty theft.

Suggestions are given as such: take with you only photocopies of important documents, do not carry bags and cameras that hang on the shoulder facing the roadside so as to prevent scooter riders from snatching these as they drive by.

The Germans also informed their tourist of “new techniques” adopted to rob distracted tourists as: the jostle in crowded places. And every country draws its “map” of the areas deemed most risky for travelers in the capital of Italy.

Despite the annoyed reaction of Mayor Marino, a faint image of a pleasant stay in Rome still lingers.

The indignation of Mayor Marino awakened a mass reaction by Italians through the social media blaming the Mayor for his weakness in ruling the city packed with thieves, beggars led by organizations, drifters, gypsies, drug addicts, the homeless, and more. He essentially describe a hidden underground comparable to the French long-gone days of “The Court of Miracles” well described in the book Les Miserable by Victor Hugo, and Charles Dickens’ “Oliver Twist.”

As they say, “Never trust a beautiful apple, the inside could reserve a surprise!”
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