Plain clothes policemen on buses, armed traffic wardens and yet more soldiers patrolling the streets are among the measures soon to come into effect to reduce crime in Rome.

A new squad of plain clothes police officers will be patrolling the metro, buses and trams to stop petty criminals such as pickpockets and molesters who take advantage of the crowds aboard public transport. The Rome police department says that for the first week, undercover officers will primarily be performing surveillance in order to assess lines most at risk.

In addition, the city is offering free public transport to soldiers in uniform, in part to support the over 20,000 military personnel stationed in and around Rome, but also to increase their visibility in public as a deterrent to crime.

Finally, the long discussed proposal to arm traffic wardens with pepper spray, night sticks and handguns has received approval from the city council. Starting in February, the first group of around 1,000 wardens will begin psychological evaluation and weapons training before coming under arms in June. While wardens will have the option of refusing to bear firearms, they