If you are heading to Italy this summer and will be hiring a car, you should be aware that criminals often steal from cars, especially in busy and anonymous places like service stations and parking lots near tourist attractions and city centres. The Canadian Government warns travellers that thieves sometimes follow cars from the rental places at airports, and break in when tourists stop for lunch or sightseeing.

Read up on the risks and factor these in to your plans. Always make sure you have appropriate travel insurance before you travel. 

From the Canadian Government’s Travel Advice website

Theft of items from vehicles is common, even in very busy areas. Rental cars are particularly targeted. It can occur:

  • at gas stations
  • at service areas along the highway
  • in parking lots in city centres, tourist attractions and beaches      

Be particularly careful if you’re renting a car at an airport. Always drive directly to your accommodations to unload the car before engaging in other activities. Thieves target cars rented at the airport and sometimes follow them to steal belongings left unattended (for example, if the travellers stop to have lunch or for sightseeing before heading to their hotel).

Be vigilant when you stop at traffic lights, as thieves travelling on scooters or on foot often snatch bags from passenger seats.

  • Keep your windows closed, bags and handbags out of reach, and car doors locked at all times
  • Never leave personal belongings unattended in a vehicle, and use secure parking facilities, especially overnight

If possible, avoid carrying handbags. Motorcyclists frequently grab bags and other personal belongings from pedestrians, often resulting in injury to the robbery victim.

from Country Advice and Advisories updated in the last 24 hours, which can be found at: http://travel.gc.ca/destinations/italy

The UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office has a similar warning

Those in hire cars can sometimes be targeted by thieves, and robberies from cars have been reported particularly in and around Rome, Milan and Pisa and on the road from Catania airport as well as at motorway service stations. Always lock your vehicle, never leave valuables on show and avoid leaving luggage in cars for any length of time.

Please click here for the rest of the advisory for Italy.

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