I remember when I was newly moving to Italy, my dad was very skeptical about my choice because of the high rate of crimes he had read about, particularly related to the Mafias. He gave me a long talk on how I should stay safe and avoid troubles. Truth is, I have come to realize the Mafias my dad even feared do not terrorize the citizens face-to-face, they do not roam the streets looking for whom to prey. They mostly operate at some higher level that mainly affects the people economically.
Just like in every town or country, safety is always a thing of concern to the locals and tourists. If you are not conversant with a new environment, you know you should follow the general rules of not keeping late nights, and to be careful when meeting new people.
According to the crime and safety index rank by Numbeo, Milan ranks 155 out of 338 countries in 2018. I would not even start to comment on the number here but only give some tips and relay some experiences I have had so far living in Milan.
Pickpockets are everywhere – clubs, restaurants, malls, metro stations, bus stations and secluded areas.
Do not get drunk when you go clubbing, especially if you do not have a sane friend to look after you. Many pickpockets know the best time to rob a person is when they are not in their good senses.
Do not hang your bag carelessly on the chair rest, you will be surprised how quickly they can be to rob you – a friend lost her purse to this mistake. Another thing is leaving your mobile phones on the table, especially in an open-air restaurant where hawkers come by to persuade you to buy cigarettes, flowers or even beg for money.
Centrale is one the places I dread visiting in Milan ever since I witnessed a man trying to snatch a girl’s bag, not even stylishly, but with so much confidence I cringed with fear. Her mistake was to stay isolated from the bus stop where other passengers were waiting for the bus to arrive. If you have a late flight or find yourself in this part of this city at night, you should endeavour to pay extra attention.
Bus 90 and Bus 91 are also two buses you should be careful of. I think many of the pickpockets-bus-experiences I have heard about occurred on these buses – including my flatmate’s.
A friend once stated that it is easier to find a job than to find a house in Milan. The housing costs can be sometimes outrageous, real estate thrives here with so many agencies scattered all around the city that makes you wonder if they are that prosperous.
There are many fake profiles that list non-existent rooms and houses at an almost too-good-to-be-true price. I have shared my house hunting experience and some tips in my previous article, read it here.
I almost lived in Quattro Oggiaro because I was not conversant with the area or local news. My Italian friend gave me a stern look and asked if I was that tough. I thought it couldn’t be that bad until I was persuaded to read up the local news that made me quickly change my mind. There are also other areas like these that have a long-standing history of higher crime rates. My advice is to always do a little research on where you would be staying or living before making a decision.
In case of emergency, dial the numbers: 118 for Ambulance; 113 for the Police; 112 for the Carabinieri; and 115 for the Fire Department.
Lastly, know that Aiuta! means “help!”
Have you had any bad or good Samaritan experiences in Milan? Share your story in the comment box below!