Measures to protect tourists from pickpockets and fake porters
Rome's Termini station is to install barriers at the beginning of platforms to allow access only to passengers with tickets. The measures are designed as protection against criminals masquerading as baggage porters.
The move was announced by Rome mayor Ignazio Marino on 30 July following a meeting with security chiefs at the capital's principal train station. Marino said the system will be a return to the "barriers that were there until the late 1970s, early 1980s. In this way, only those with tickets can access the trains."
Similar security measures are already in place at the S. Maria Novella station in Florence, installed for the same reasons.
Rome's police chief Giuseppe Pecoraro said that the numbers of police on duty in and around Termini will be increased, along with an advertising campaign warning tourists to be on their guard while passing through the station.
Over the last year there have also been reports of criminals dressed in suits boarding first-class carriages at Termini and removing luggage just before the train departs. The security upgrade follows the recent report in the Rome daily Il Messaggero outlining the fake ticket controllers at Flaminio metro station. Dressed in red uniforms, they provide tourists with information in English before requesting tips.
The newspaper also published a photo showing a group of gypsies stationed at Termini's electronic ticket machines where they "help" tourists before demanding money. The image went viral on social media sites in Rome and led to calls for a clampdown on illegal activity at the station.
Another newspaper, La Repubblica, recently quoted a representative from the Lazio branch of police trade union ANIP Italia Sicura who said that over 100 pickpockets are arrested each day at Termini despite the fact that less than half of the station's security cameras actually work.
Photos: Il Messaggero