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Italy 2015 Crime and Safety Report: Naples

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Overall Crime and Safety Situation

Crime Rating: Medium

Crime Threats

In the past few years, there has been a considerable increase in crimes committed by the growing population of illegal immigrants.

American visitors are generally safe and are not singled out or targeted based on nationality, but foreigners do tend to be targeted for petty theft because they look like tourists. Most street crimes tend to be non-violent and directed toward obtaining property (purse snatching, pickpocketing, residential/vehicle break-ins). The Centro Storico (city center) has the highest incidence of these types of crimes. There have been several purse snatchings and vehicle break-ins reported by Consulate employees. Subways, buses, and trams are lucrative hunting grounds for pickpockets, as the numbers of (often unwary) tourists, coupled with the close proximity and jostling of passengers, makes their actions easier. A review of Consulate Naples’ security and consular files revealed that in 2014 alone, 66 American passports were stolen from visitors to southern Italy.

The center of Naples -- Piazza Garibaldi (the central train station), Centro Storico, Quartieri Spagnoli, and other tourist sites -- are noted for petty crimes, although serious crimes can and do occur. Watch thefts, purse snatchings, and pickpocketing are the most frequent forms of crime reported in the area, and these incidents are especially common in the summer. Another “high risk” location in the center of Naples is in the Secondigliano/Capodichino area. 

House burglaries occur often and are most often reported in Lago Patria and Pozzuoli. 

Car thieves prefer the areas outside of the city center and the outskirts that tend to have less of a police presence. 

Moving vehicles have been a particularly attractive target in 2014. Perpetrators also target rental cars driven by unsuspecting tourists. One particular method employed by criminals is to block a targeted vehicle with a scooter while an accomplice sneaks up and snatches electronics and other valuables through open windows or unlocked car doors. 

Organized crime groups (Camorra, Ndrangheta, Cosa Nostra, Sacra Corona Unita) are undisputed facts of life in southern Italy. 

Violent street crime is very rare.

Areas of Concern

Piazza del Gesu’, a large piazza in south Naples, has been reported as an area where physical altercations are most prevalent during late evening/early morning hours. The piazza has many bars, which all close at the same time and spill patrons into the piazza. The combination of excessive amounts of alcohol, bravado, and cultural differences make minor fights fairly frequent in this area.

The areas around the ruins in Pompei, Ercolano in the Vesuvio area outside of Naples, have been reported to have late-night crimes in which the victim is befriended by strangers (typically in a bar or in a public park setting) offering drug-laced drinks designed to render the victim unconscious. The victim is robbed, sometimes physically assaulted, and often hospitalized. Many victims of this crime wake up the following morning, often in a nearby park, with little/no recollection of the events.

Transportation-Safety Situation

Road Safety and Road Conditions 

Driving is not only stressful but also dangerous. Traffic laws are rarely followed/enforced. Enforcement by local traffic officials is limited and ineffective. Scooters and motorcycles generally do not follow the rules of the road and often times use the sidewalks to get around vehicles. Mountain roads outside of Naples are vulnerable to rock and mudslides. 

If an individual decides to self-drive and is involved in a traffic accident, please follow the below instructions.
Car Accident With Injuries
Call 118 to inform the Health Emergency dispatcher of your location and details regarding injuries. Call 113 or 112 to inform the police or Carabinieri dispatcher of your location and details regarding the accident. Wait for emergency services to arrive. They will provide emergency services, reestablish traffic flow, and complete an accident report form. Make a note of what the name and destination is of any injured persons to be transported by ambulance from the scene. The police report will be helpful in this regard as well. 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 (113), Carabinieri (112), or Vigili Urbani 081-7513177 (Naples). If vehicles are blocking traffic and if possible, law requires the vehicles to be moved. Before moving your vehicle, document the position of the vehicle by any means possible. 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 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, get a name and phone number of an actual witness who can be contacted at a later time by the police. Witness fabrication is common. Pay close attention to who was present at the accident scene and who is recorded on the police report as an actual witness. 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 the vehicles are blocking traffic and if possible, law requires the vehicles to be moved. Before moving your vehicle, document the position of the vehicle by any means possible. 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. Wait for the police to arrive and document the incident. Contact your insurance company, obtain guidance on how to send them the Constatazione Amichevole id Incidente Automobilistico, and inquiry about further steps need regarding damages and related expenses.

Cars should be parked in a garage or in an illuminated area. Do not leave personal effects, including passports, in your vehicle while inside the Autogrill. Avoid leaving the vehicle unattended if at all possible. When going through traffic areas with stop lights, vehicles should always be locked and windows rolled up. Be cautious if flagged down to indicate a flat tire. Drive to the nearest attended gas station before stopping.

Public Transportation Conditions 

Taxis or public transportation are recommended for those who do not have experience driving in Naples. Only use licensed taxis. Make sure a taxi has a meter and that the driver activates it upon departure. All authorized taxis are white and have meters. Do not use a private unlicensed car services.

Other Travel Conditions 

Pedestrians do not have the right-of-way and must be very careful when crossing the road even in approved crosswalks.

Political, Economic, Religious, and Ethnic Violence

Political Violence Rating: Medium

Local, Regional, and International Terrorism Threats/Concerns

Information as of January 2015 suggests that ISIL, al-Qai’da, its affiliated organizations, and other terrorist groups continue to plan terrorist attacks against U.S. and Western interests in Europe. U.S. and Italian authorities believe the likelihood of a terror attack in Europe is increased as European members of ISIL return from Syria and Iraq. There is also a continuing threat in Europe from unaffiliated persons planning attacks inspired by major terrorist organizations but conducted on an individual basis. In the past several years, organized extremist attacks have been planned or carried out in various European countries. European governments have taken action to guard against terrorist attacks, and some have made official declarations regarding heightened threat conditions.

Italy has two types of terrorism: transnational and indigenous. The transnational terrorist problem is similar to that faced by most major European capitals. Additionally, Italy has long figured (at times prominently) in the rhetoric of groups such as al-Qai’da, ISIS, and al-Shabaab. Domestically, Italy is faced with several indigenous terrorist groups and radical elements, primarily consisting of leftist, anarchist, and anti-globalization movements. Government institutions and foreign diplomatic facilities have found bombs outside public buildings, received bomb threats, and were subjects of letter bombs. Buildings and offices are sometimes the targets of firebombs or Molotov cocktails, although generally at night; such incidents are instigated by organized crime or anarchist movements.

Italy’s concerns about terrorism are exacerbated by its proximity to North Africa and the Middle East. Sicily and parts of southern Italy are home to large Muslim communities giving Italian authorities concern of the potential for radicalization amongst the Muslim population. The Italians have a robust counterterrorism program and are actively monitoring known/suspected foreign fighters and terrorists.

Terrorism Rating: High

Anti-American/Anti-Western Sentiment

Most citizens and residents appear to have a positive view of the U.S. 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)).

Civil Unrest 

Public demonstrations happen frequently. Some factions opposed to any type of change or progress (anti-TAV, anti-MUOS, anti-globalization, anti-EU, anti-GM) have organized protests that have turned violent. Concern remains that these same groups could use demonstrations to target U.S. government facilities and businesses. All demonstrations must have a valid permit and be approved by local police, though non-approved demonstrations have occurred in places like Palermo. Typically, there are four common locations for these demonstrations: 
(1) Italian companies (labor disputes), 
(2) U.S. Consulate and Consular Agency (anti-U.S. foreign policy), 
(3) Piazza del Plebliscito, 
(4) regional/city hall buildings. 
Usually, these demonstrations are well-controlled under the tight supervision of the police. These events should be avoided because hostile elements within the crowds can escalate the situation. These large crowds are also attractive targets for pickpockets. 

Post-specific Concerns

Environmental Hazards

Earthquakes are endemic to this region. The Department of State’s Overseas Buildings Operations Bureau rates Naples as a Level 2B (moderate) seismically active area. At the end of December 2013, Naples experienced an earthquake of 4.9 magnitude and several aftershocks, with epicenter approximately 35 miles northeast of Naples. Many buildings/infrastructure are old and not well maintained; a mild but longer-lasting earthquake could result in significant damage and potential for injury and death. There have been strong earthquakes in the past 30 years with serious property damage reported. The potential for a tsunami following an earthquake must considered as part of crisis planning. Furthermore, the center of Naples is connected to the rest of the region by tunnels and skyways, which if damaged, could block emergency exit from the city, leaving only the bay as a viable escape route. 

Floods occasionally occur during the winter when heavy rains and melting snow cause local rivers to swell beyond the flood plain. Coastal and mountain roads can become precarious, especially during periods of rain and/or snow. 

Critical Infrastructure Concerns 

The disruption of critical infrastructure response services (ambulance, fire, police response) after a catastrophic event is extremely likely, so it is very important to formulate a personal plan for such situations.

Economic Espionage/Intellectual Property Thefts

Avoid street vendors selling knock-off designer products; you may face a fine of up to several thousand Euros by the local police, not to mention the personal embarrassment and political fallout that may result from your illegal actions. 

Police Response

Police response and services are good, though they vary depending on the service area. 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, though resource constraints confront law enforcement and this impacts the way in which they carry out their duties. In addition, the average police officer is not as empowered as U.S. law enforcement and will seek to address a situation employing a very different approach. Americans should be aware of these differences and patient in their interactions. Police personnel are acutely aware of citizen rights, the place of the police in their society, and the overcrowded jails. They may have a different perspective of the emergent nature of your situation and may not act the same way as Americans would expect. Politely insist they intervene if you find yourself in a situation requiring law enforcement remedy. 

Crime Victim Assistance

In the event of a theft or any other mishap, please refer to the following list of helpful telephone numbers: 
Military Police, (Carabinieri): 112 
Police, Naples (Polizia di Stato): 113 
Fire Department, Naples (Vigili del Fuoco): 115 
Ambulance, Naples, (first aid only): 118

Medical Emergencies

Contact Information for Recommended Hospitals/Clinics

Azienda Ospedaliera Di Rileivo Nazionale A Cardarelli
9, v. Cardarelli - 80131 Napoli (NA) | 
Tel: 081- 7471111 

Policlinico Seconda Universita Di Napoli
Largo Madonna Delle Grazie 1 - 80138 Napoli (NA) 
Tel: 800 56 72 66

Ospedale Santobono (children’s hospital)
Napoli(NA) 80123 
Via Mario Fiore n°6
Tel: 081 220 5355

CDC Country-specific Vaccination and Health Guidance 

For additional information on vaccines and health guidance, please visit the CDC at: http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/destinations/traveler/none/italy.

Tips on How to Avoid Becoming a Victim

Scams 

Criminals at the Piazza Garibaldi train station use diversion techniques. One common example involves criminals who ask for directions, and while the victim is offering assistance, another criminal covertly takes a piece of luggage. Other techniques may involve a thief intentionally spilling mustard, yogurt, or soda on the victim and then apologizing profusely and helping the victim clean up while an accomplice is relieving the victim of his valuables. Thieves offer assistance to a person struggling with bags or strollers, picking up one of the bags, and disappearing into the crowd. Use extra caution while in/around train stations. The large crowds and chaotic atmosphere provide an ideal environment for criminals.

Situational Awareness Best Practices 

Be cognizant of your surroundings. Know where you need to go and walk with a purpose. Do not give the impression that you are lost or wandering. There is evidence that criminals will observe these vulnerabilities and target these types of individuals. Pay special attention to your actions and your surroundings to avoid becoming a victim of pickpocketing. Extra care and attention should be taken when visiting tourist areas. Visitors are advised to exercise a heightened security awareness while visiting public parks, especially after dark. While they are attractive locations for exercise, in twilight or evening hours, it is a good idea to travel with another person or with a group. Do not venture down isolated or dark alleyways. 

Keep control of your personal items. Many people are targeted for expensive jewelry. Dress conservatively and leave high priced items in a secure location. Avoid wearing any items of value while touring Naples. While waiting in line, keep your luggage close. Make a copy of your passport data page; carry the paper copy instead of your passport. Leave your unneeded wallet with your driver’s license and department store credit cards in the hotel safe. Do not carry large sums of cash. If you normally carry a wallet, put it in a front pocket and put your hand in your pocket to hold onto it. If you carry a purse/bag, just tucking it under one arm (particularly in a stationary position, such as on a subway, bus, or tram) is insufficient; carry it in front of you and block access to the sides with your arms. When walking with a purse/bag, ensuring it is closed and tucking it under your arm is probably sufficient. Do not leave your purse/bag over the back of your chair at a restaurant, watch that no one kicks your bag or purse out from under your table at a restaurant, and be particularly vigilant of where you place your belongings when at a sidewalk café.

Parents should tell children before a trip that their cooperation will be helpful in train stations and at airports to help ensure everyone’s safety and ease of travel. Families become a prime target if the children are uncooperative and attention is focused on controlling them.

It is recommended to use ATMs inside banks and not on the sidewalks. 

Consult with credible local experts and local law enforcement to ensure your business interests are not impacted, infiltrated by or inadvertently doing business with a criminal organization.

U.S. Consulate Location and Contact Information 

Consulate Address and Hours of Operation 

Consulate General-Naples 
Piazza della Repubblica 
80122 Naples, Italy

Consulate Contact Numbers

Regional Security Office: (39) 081-583-8266
Consulate Operator: (39) 081-5838-111
Marine Post One: (39) 081-583-8208
Website: 

Nearby Posts

Embassy Rome: http://italy.usembassy.gov/
Consulate Florence: http://florence.usconsulate.gov/
Consulate Milan: http://milan.usconsulate.gov/
Virtual Presence Post San Marino: http://sanmarino.usvpp.gov/

Consulate Guidance

U.S. citizens should register with the U.S. Embassy and can obtain updated travel information by visiting http://italy.usembassy.gov/english/

OSAC Country Council Information

Italy has an active OSAC Country Council. For further information on the OSAC Country Council in Italy, visit http://italy.osac.gov/ or contact the Regional Security Office of the U.S. Embassy in Naples. For more information on OSAC Country Councils visit https://www.osac.gov/. To reach OSAC’s Europe team, please email OSACEUR@state.gov.