Crime is on the rise in the capital according to the regional safety watchdog LOsservatorio Tecnico Scientifico per la Sicurezza e Legalit.

Rome has, in fact, registered a 9.6 per cent increase in overall crime between 2004 and 2005 with the most significant increase being in robberies (hold-ups) followed by burglaries (break-ins).

Also on the rise are various types of scams, particularly computer frauds, which have risen by 7.9 per cent between 2004 and 2005.

Sexual crimes have also increased, from 186 to 235, alongside bag-snatching, assault and battery, while kidnappings seem to be a rising trend particularly among immigrants.

It must be remembered that a lot of crimes are not reported to the police so the actual figures could be even higher.

Another reason for concern are the high number of fires. Since the beginning of June fireman have had to deal with 1,414 incidents involving forests and brushwoods in the Lazio area. Of these, 76 per cent were fraudulent while the rest were mainly due to carelessness and not following the relevant regulations. The total number of incidents for last years summer period were 2,226.

While crime seems to be on the rise in Lazio in general, 85 per cent of all crime occurs within the city of Rome.

Frosinone is the only town in the Lazio region which has registered a decrease in its crime rate, down from 11,248 to 10,955.