Overall Crime and Safety Situation
U.S. Consulate General Milan does not assume responsibility for the professional ability or integrity of the persons or firms appearing in this report. The ACS Unit cannot recommend a particular individual or location and assumes no responsibility for the quality of service provided.
THE U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE HAS ASSESSED MILAN AS BEING A MEDIUM-THREAT LOCATION FOR CRIME DIRECTED AT OR AFFECTING OFFICIAL U.S. GOVERNMENT INTERESTS.
Please review OSAC’s Italy-specific webpage for proprietary analytic reports, Consular Messages, and contact information.
American visitors are generally not singled out or targeted based on nationality; however, all foreigners are recognizable and are often targeted for petty theft. Most crimes committed against Americans are petty theft (pickpocketing, purse snatching). Milan and northern Italy have organized, sophisticated networks of pickpockets frequenting tourist attractions/sites, buses, and trains. Pickpockets may work in groups of two or three individuals and employ creative means to relieve tourists of their valuables. Public transportation serves as a favorite venue for pickpocket rings. Buses and trains tend to be very crowded, so most victims report that they get on the bus/train and, upon exiting, realize that their belongings are gone. The most common pickpocketing scams involve an individual working to distract the victim while another perpetrator comes from behind and takes the victim’s valuables. Other methods include: bumping into the victim and snatching a wallet/phone; asking a victim to sign a petition as a distraction to stand close as the clipboard is held; or having an accomplice drop items at the feet of the victim to create a distraction. When the helpful victim bends down to assist in picking up the items, a second thief comes from behind and carries out the theft.
A relatively old phenomenon that is now pronounced and impacting American visitors is the bracelet trick. Individuals will take hold of the victim’s arm while handing the victim a rose and or tying a bracelet onto the wrist and aggressively demanding payment. A firm, “No!” with eye contact will reduce the chance of harassment.
There can be “innovations” in the price of items if they are not clearly marked. This includes items on restaurant menus and the cost of a taxi ride; clarify cost before commencing any transaction.
In 2015 and 2016, Milan had the highest number of visitors in Italy. Hotels and home sharing are widely available and are relatively safe, but occasional thefts have been reported. Keep your belongings in a safe place.
Fraudulent currency, particularly the 20 euro denomination, is in circulation; look over the cash you are given as change.
Vehicle break-ins occur, especially with on-street parking. Perpetrators often take electronics and other valuables from cars.
Criminal groups (Camorra, Ndrangheta, Cosa Nostra, Sacra Corona Unita) are undisputed facts of Italian life. Their focus is often directed at businesses and lucrative contracts, so individual travelers may not readily notice their influence. Before signing a contract, companies should perform due diligence to ensure potential business partners are not affiliated with criminal organizations or fraudulent practices.
While violent street crime is rare, care should be used to avoid incidents. Walking alone, going out late at night, or being out while under the influence of alcohol may all increase the risk of being targeted.
Cybercrime appears to be at a level consistent with the rest of Western Europe, due to the ease with which criminals can target a broad range of people and businesses remotely. Recent press reports have indicated Italy is highly targeted for ransomware, in which malware encrypts a user’s hard drive until a ransom is paid online.
Other Areas of Concern
Some immigrant and refugee populations frequent or live in parks. Some sell trinkets and other items, often illegally. While infrequent, sexual assaults do occur in parks. Visitors are advised to exercise a heightened sense of security awareness while visiting public parks, especially after dark. While they are attractive locations for jogging and other exercise in twilight or evening hours, it is a good idea to travel with another person or with a group.
Road Safety and Road Conditions
Driving in Milan is a trying experience, with countless mopeds/scooters plying the streets with operators seemingly oblivious to traffic codes. Traffic laws are rarely followed; however, the conditions are slightly better than other major Italian cities.
Cars should be parked in a garage or in an illuminated area.
If an individual is involved in a traffic accident, below are suggested actions:
Car Accident with Injuries: Call 112 to inform the dispatcher of your location, details regarding injuries, and the accident. Wait for emergency services to arrive. They will provide care and transport of the injured, reestablish traffic flow, and complete an accident report form. Note the name and destination of any injured persons to be transported by ambulance from the scene. A police report will be helpful in this regard. Do not sign any documents that either are not clearly understood or do not conform to your grasp of the factors surrounding the accident.
Car Accident without Injuries and No Agreement on the Facts Relating to the Accident: Call the police at 112 or Vigili Urbani Milan (02-77-271). If vehicles are blocking traffic, Italian law requires the vehicles to be moved if possible. Before moving your vehicle, document the position of the vehicle by any means possible. Extensive photographs can help but should not be considered the sole source of evidence. Search for skid marks, broken glass, debris, or any other evidence that may help in determining the facts of the accident. Take photographs of all damage to both vehicles and pay particular attention to any pre-existing damage. Try to establish a third-party witness. Even if it is another motorist who cannot wait for the police to arrive, obtain names and phone numbers of witnesses who can be contacted by the police. Witness fabrication is not uncommon. There have been reported cases of family members acting as witnesses to accident scenes who were not actually present. Wait for the authorities to arrive. They will document the accident scene, take statements from all parties/witnesses, and fill out the accident report.
Car Accident without Injuries and Agreement on the Facts Relating to the Accident: If vehicles are blocking traffic, Italian law requires the vehicles to be moved if possible. Before moving your vehicle, document the position of the vehicle. Wait for the police to arrive and document the incident. Mark the four corners of the involved vehicles on the ground via any means possible. Extensive photographs can help but should not be considered the sole source of evidence. Search for skid marks, broken glass, debris, or any other evidence that may help in determining the actual facts relating to the accident. Take photographs of all damage to both vehicles and pay particular attention to any pre-existing damage. Complete the Constatazione Amichevole di Incidente Automobilistico (Agreed Statement of Facts on Motor Vehicle Accident). Give a copy to each party. Do not sign the completed form if there is disagreement regarding the version/sequence of events represented. Contact your insurance company; obtain guidance on how to send them the Constatazione Amichevole id Incidente Automobilistico and inquire about steps regarding damages/related expenses.
Public Transportation Conditions
Public transportation, from trains to Metro, trams, and buses, in northern Italy is excellent.
Several cases of sabotage against rail lines were reported in late 2014. These crimes appear to the work of opponents to high-speed rail (TAV). While aimed at infrastructure instead of occupied trains, infrastructure damage has the potential to endanger passengers.
Authorized taxis are white and metered. Only use licensed taxis or a reputable transportation service.
Several major U.S. airlines service the Milan Malpensa and Venice Marco Polo airports. Airports also frequented by Americans include the Milan Linate and Bergamo Orio al Serio airports. Airport safety is considered on par with other Western European countries.
Other Travel Conditions
Travelers should be alert for transit strikes, which occur approximately once or twice per month, generally on a Friday.
THE U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE HAS ASSESSED MILAN AS BEING A MEDIUM-THREAT LOCATION FOR TERRORIST ACTIVITY DIRECTED AT OR AFFECTING OFFICIAL U.S. GOVERNMENT INTERESTS.
Local, Regional, and International Terrorism Threats/Concerns
Information as of January 2017 suggests that ISIS, al-Qa’ida, its affiliated organizations, and other terrorist groups continue to plan terrorist attacks against U.S. and Western interests in Europe. Authorities believe the likelihood of a terror attack in Europe has increased, as European members of ISIS return from Syria and Iraq. In the past several years, organized extremist attacks have been planned or carried out in Europe. European governments have taken action to guard against terrorist attacks, and some have made official declarations regarding heightened threat conditions. Recent attacks in Europe have focused on “soft targets” rather than on government personnel/facilities.
Italy’s concerns for terrorism are exacerbated by its proximity to North Africa and the Middle East. Italy has figured prominently in the rhetoric of some groups (ISIS, al-Qa’ida, al-Shabaab). Milan and northern Italy are home to large Muslim communities with ongoing concerns of radicalization. The Italians have a robust counterterrorism program and are actively monitoring known/suspected foreign fighters and terrorists.
Italy also faces several indigenous terrorist groups and radical elements, primarily left-wing and anarchist movements. Government institutions and diplomatic facilities have received bomb threats and actual explosive devices. Buildings/offices can be the targets of firebombs or Molotov cocktails although generally at night. Multi-national corporations often factor into the rhetoric of anti-globalization and animal rights groups. These groups are well organized and can marshal participants from all across Europe.
- In 2016, targets in northern Italy included a biotechnology firm and an EU food safety office, both of which received small explosive or incendiary devices in the mail.
There is also a continuing threat from unaffiliated persons planning attacks inspired by major terrorist organizations but conducted on an individual basis.
Anti-American rhetoric comes from small groups opposing specific programs ((the Mobile User Objective System (MUOS) satellite communications system, the proposed Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (T-TIP), U.S. military partnership in Italy).
Law enforcement has expressed the potential for anti-globalization groups to use demonstrations to target U.S. government facilities and businesses.
Political, Economic, Religious, and Ethnic Violence
THE U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE HAS ASSESSED MILAN AS BEING A MEDIUM-THREAT LOCATION FOR POLITICAL VIOLENCE DIRECTED AT OR AFFECTING OFFICIAL U.S. GOVERNMENT INTERESTS.
Anti-globalization factions have organized protests that have turned violent. In Milan, the areas of the Duomo, Piazza Castello, and Via Turati in the general direction of Piazza Repubblica have been protest venues. Turin is also very active for anti-establishment groups. These protestors can number in the thousands. Protestors are required to petition the local government for approval of protest sites, routes, and numbers of participants, so law enforcement generally maintains order when policing events.
While some incidents of ethnic/religious violence have been reported, and backlash has been observed against a recent wave of refugees/immigrants from the Middle East and North Africa, the level of these crimes is generally low.
Italy is prone to earthquakes and regular seismic events; Milan and most of northern Italy is outside of the main earthquake zones; however, the north does experience strong tremors. Authorities have well-developed plans to handle seismic events.
Localized flooding may occur during heavy rains. The Italian government has begun awareness campaigns, and some maps and resources are available online.
The “Io non rischio” campaign by Italy’s Department of Civil Protection has information on how to avoid risks including floods, earthquakes, or tsunamis, and has information in English. The interactive maps may be useful for determining levels of risk.
The economic strength in Milan and northern Italy, combined with longstanding influence in industries (banking, manufacturing, fashion, design) may increase the risk of corporate espionage to steal trade secrets or gain a competitive advantage.
Avoid street vendors selling knock-off designer products or you may face a fine of up to several thousand Euros.
The Italian media has documented a number of phone-tapping controversies in past decades, including against President Napolitano in 2012. Individuals and businesses concerned with privacy should remember the apparent ease with which political and business rivals have eavesdropped on each other.
Police response and services are generally good. Since at least the early 1900s, Italy has had a higher level of police presence than most countries. In 2008, Operazione Strade Sicure began adding military patrols throughout major cities to supplement civilian police patrols and deter both crime and terrorist attack.
How to Handle Incidents of Police Detention or Harassment
If you are detained, contact Consulate General-Milan.
Via Principe Amedeo, 2/10
20121 Milan, Italy
Consulate Operator: (39) 02-2903-51
Marine Post One: (39) 02-2903-5255
Regional Security Office: (39) 02-29035 293
Crime Victim Assistance
Local authorities suggest using the primary emergency services number 112 to request assistance for any emergency. The service has location detection and multi-lingual operators.
In the Lombardia region around Milan, the official “Where ARE U” cellular phone application can also be used to rapidly call for help and send GPS coordinates to the dispatcher.
Main Emergency Number: 112
Military Police (Carabinieri) 112
Police (Polizia di Stato): 113
Fire Department (Vigili del Fuoco): 115
The Polizia di Stato (state police) and the Carabinieri (military police with Italy-wide law enforcement powers and jurisdiction) are well-trained and equipped. These two police groups offer the full range of police services.
Main Emergency Number: 112
Ambulance (First Aid only): 118
Contact Information for Available Medical Services
Level 1 Trauma Center
(Located north of Milan)
ER Tel: 02.6444.7433
Main Tel: 02.6444.2496
Piazza Ospedale Maggiore, 3
Ospedale Luigi Sacco (Infectious Disease)
(Located N/W Milan)
ER Tel: 02.3904.3051
Via G.B. Grassi, 74
Ospedale Maggiore Policlinico Mangiagalli
(Near Milan Center)
ER Tel: 02.5503.3255 or 02.5503.3209
Main Tel: 02.5503.1
Via Francesco Sforza, 28
Ospedale Maggiore Policlinico
Clinica Pediatrica De Marchi
ER Tel: 02.5503.2694 or 02.5503.2697
Via della Commenda, 10
Ospedale dei Bambini
ER Tel: 02.5799.5363
Via Castelvetro, 32
Pronto Soccorso Ostetrico-Ginecologico
Via Commenda, 12
Country-specific Vaccination and Health Guidance
The CDC offers additional information on vaccines and health guidance for Italy.
OSAC Country Council Information
The Milan Country Council currently meets once a year and has approximately 50 members. Please contact OSAC’s Europe team with any questions or to join.
U.S. Consulate General Location and Contact Information
Consulate Address and Hours of Operation
Via Principe Amedeo, 2/10
20121 Milan, Italy
Regular business hours: 0830-1730
Consulate Contact Numbers
Milan Regional Security Office: (39) 02-29035 293
Consulate Operator: (39) 02-2903-51
Marine Post One: (39) 02-2903-5255
Embassy Rome: http://italy.usembassy.gov/
Consulate Florence: http://florence.usconsulate.gov/
Consulate Naples: http://naples.usconsulate.gov/
Virtual Presence Post San Marino: http://sanmarino.usvpp.gov/
To obtain updated travel information, U.S. citizens should register with the U.S. Consulate General via the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP).
Italy Country Information Sheet