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Italy 2018 Crime & Safety Report: Naples

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According to the current U.S. Department of State Travel Advisory at the date of this report’s publication, Italy has been assessed as Level 2. Exercise increased caution due to terrorism.

Overall Crime and Safety Situation

U.S. Consulate General Naples] does not assume responsibility for the professional ability or integrity of the persons or firms appearing in this report. The American Citizens’ Services unit (ACS) 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 Naples as being a MEDIUM-threat location for crime directed at or affecting official U.S. government interests.

Please review OSAC’s Italy-specific page for original OSAC reporting, consular messages, and contact information, some of which may be available only to private-sector representatives with an OSAC password.

Crime Threats

American visitors are generally safe and are not singled out or targeted based on nationality. Tourists, foreigners, and local citizens are occasionally targeted for petty theft. Most street crimes tend to be non-violent and directed toward obtaining property (purse snatching, pickpocketing, residential/vehicle break-ins); however, attempted robberies can quickly turn violent if victims resist. The Centro Storico (city center) has the highest incidence of these types of crimes. Congested areas such as central squares, narrow side-streets, subways, buses, and trams all offer lucrative hunting grounds for pickpockets, as the numbers of 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 of the millions of American tourists to southern Italy in 2017 over 300 American passports were reported lost or stolen.

Car thieves prefer the areas outside of the city center and the outskirts that tend to have less of a police presence. Unattended vehicles in monument parking lots and highway rest stops are also noted areas for vehicle break-ins; however, unattended vehicles or vehicles with items visible inside present targets of opportunity anywhere. Avoid leaving your vehicle unattended, if possible. Cars should be parked in a garage or in a well-illuminated area. Privately owned vehicles continue to be a particularly attractive target. 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. Another technique involves another motorist communicating that you have a flat tire in an attempt to get you to stop. A recently reported technique involves assailants throwing a rat into an occupied car; when the occupants flee the vehicle to escape the rat, thieves jump in and drive away with it.

Organized crime groups (Camorra, Ndrangheta, Cosa Nostra, Sacra Corona Unita) are active and maintain a presence in southern Italy, and armed violence between rival members is common. The violence often takes place away from touristed areas; however, violent exchanges have taken place in and around areas where tourists, American diplomats, expatriates, and active duty service members live and congregate. 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.

Areas of Concern

The center of Naples -- Piazza Garibaldi (the central train station), Centro Storico, Quartieri Spagnoli, and other tourist sites -- are most noted for petty crimes, although serious crimes can and do occur. House burglaries do occur and are frequently reported in the Lago Patria and Pozzuoli areas.

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.

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 alcohol, bravado, and inter-gang rivalries make fights fairly frequent in this area. In general, the historic center (Centro Storico), to include the Spanish Quarter (Quartieri Spagnoli), has seen violent episodes involving stabbings and shootings. Tourists are not targeted. However, the gun violence may take the form of scooter-mounted drive-by shootings, where bullets may strike people beyond their intended targets. In general, it is best to stick to main avenues and piazzas, and enjoy the historic center during daylight hours.

Transportation-Safety Situation

For more information, please review OSAC’s Report, “Security in Transit: Airplanes, Public Transport, and Overnights.”

Road Safety and Road Conditions

Driving is not only stressful but also dangerous. Traffic laws are often ignored. 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 in rural areas are vulnerable to rock and mudslides. For more information on self-driving, please review OSAC’s Report “Driving Overseas: Best Practices.”

If a driver is involved in a traffic accident, he/she should follow the below instructions:

Car Accident with Injuries

Call 112 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 (112), Carabinieri (112), or Vigili Urbani 081-7513177 (Naples). If vehicles are blocking traffic, 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.

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, have meters and bear an identification number on the outside of the door; take a photo of this number before getting in so you have documentation in the event there is a problem later. Do not use 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. Look both ways, even when crossing a one-way street.

Police traffic control checkpoints are common and police can pull you over without probable cause. If this happens, do not be alarmed or assume you have done something wrong, simply cooperate and present them with your driver’s license. 

Terrorism Threat

The U.S. Department of State has assessed Naples 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

Terrorist groups and terrorist-inspired individuals continue to plan attacks against U.S. and Western interests in Europe. There is 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, 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.

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 groups such as ISIS, al-Qa’ida and al-Shabaab. Milan and northern Italy are home to large Muslim communities with ongoing concerns of radicalization. While Lombardy has the largest population of settled migrants, southern Italy is close behind as it is the entry point for most migrants. The Italians have a robust counterterrorism program and are actively monitoring known/suspected foreign fighters and terrorists.

Anti-American/Anti-Western Sentiment

Anti-American rhetoric comes from small groups opposing military operations or specific programs.

Political, Economic, Religious, and Ethnic Violence

The U.S. Department of State has assessed Naples as being a LOW-threat location for political violence directed at or affecting official U.S. government interests.

Civil Unrest

Public demonstrations happen frequently. Some factions (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 do take place. Typically, there are four common locations for these demonstrations:

  • Italian companies (labor disputes),

  • U.S. Consulate and Consular Agency (anti-U.S. foreign policy or other),

  • Piazza del Plebliscito,

  • 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. 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 is a possibility and should be included as part of emergency crisis planning. 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 – assuming a tsunami has not disrupted port facilities.

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 Concerns

Avoid street vendors selling knock-off designer products; you may face a fine of up to several thousand Euros by the local police.

Police Response

Police response and services are generally good but can 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 security groups offer a full range of police services, though resource constraints can impact the way they carry out their duties.

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

For local first responders, please refer to U.S. Embassy Rome’s Emergency Assistance page.

Medical Emergencies

Contact Information for Recommended Hospitals/Clinics

For medical assistance, please refer to U.S. Embassy Rome’s Medical Assistance page.

CDC Country-specific Vaccination and Health Guidance

The CDC offers additional information on vaccines and health guidance for Italy.

OSAC Country Council Information

There is no Country Council in Naples. Interested private-sector security managers should contact OSAC’s Europe Team with any questions.

U.S. Consulate Location and Contact Information

Consulate Address and Hours of Operation

Consulate General-Naples

Piazza della Repubblica

80122 Naples, Italy

Regular business hours: 0830 – 1730

Consulate Contact Numbers

Consulate Operator: (39) 081-5838-111

Marine Post One: (39) 081-583-8208

Website: https://it.usembassy.gov/embassy-consulates/naples/

Nearby Posts

Embassy Rome: https://it.usembassy.gov/

Consulate Florence: https://it.usembassy.gov/embassy-consulates/florence/

Consulate Milan: https://it.usembassy.gov/embassy-consulates/milan/

Virtual Presence Post San Marino: https://sm.usmission.gov/

Consulate Guidance

U.S. citizens traveling to [country] should register with the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to ensure they receive pertinent security updates and notices.

Additional Resources

Italy Country Information Sheet