I have recently been 'mugged' in the streets of Northern Italy. I only recently moved here due to a new workplace.

She (concluding from her voice and demaenour) simply walked up to me with a knife and nicely asked whether I have any money with me. Of course I was scared and was willing to hand it over, but she would only actually take half of what I had in my portemonnaie (around 100€) at the time. She even went ahead and apologised for the inconvenience she caused, saying that maybe she'll pay me back some day.

So, is this 'common' or did I experience a rather rare case?

It might be important to add that I have absolutely no experience with any criminal activities aside from television, so my vision might be distorted in this matter.

A bonus question would be is it actually dangerous to be on the streets of (Northern) Italy after dark?

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    – JoErNanO
    Commented Sep 18, 2019 at 13:28

2 Answers 2


You experienced a rather rare case: in fact, it's rare to find a mugger with such good manners!

In general, Italy is a safe country to live in (see this report , pp. 105-117) and it's relatively rare to get mugged. For instance, I live in a city in northern Italy, I've walked a lot in the night and I haven't been mugged once in almost fifty years; among a hundred friends I can recall just a couple of cases (all failed). Various types of pickpocketers are definitely more common (e.g., pay attention if someone walks very close to you; or, if you have a car and you find a flat tire at a parking lot, don't leave any possession unattended while you change the tire).

However, in every big city (in every part of the world) there are areas where you want to avoid walking alone after dark, especially if you are new to the place and can be easily recognized as a foreigner. Since you're new to the city, ask your colleagues and your closest neighbours information about your area.


Long story short: there is no mugging etiquette. Muggers don't get together in clubs and agree on how to mug people. Muggers simply mug people. Their reasons are different and so are their behaviours but their end result is the same: to mug you. I think you were simply lucky to be treated nicely by the person mugging you.

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