Is Rome unsafe and dangerous for travellers? First of all, let me tell you that like any other capital in Europe, Rome could be unsafe if you are careless and unaware. Small crimes such as pick pocketing has increased in the past few years, this is very true, and in my opinion, that is mostly due also to the recession and to a weakness in control by council.
However, what I recommend is to be aware, and keep your eyes open, especially in crowded places and during day time. They usually pickpocket from 9 am to 6 pm. After that they return to their camps.
Start by keeping your belongings close to you, out of sight and not easily reachable for those who have bad intentions, this will definitely put thieves off.
Usually the pickpockets are not locals, but young gypsy girls acting in a gang. They look well dressed and wander around aiming for the careless tourist. Look out especially in the subway, they hit their targets at the stops, when people get in and out of the wagon. They use the movement of people to sneak their hands into your pockets or backpack, maybe by pushing or pulling. It is easy to spot a tourist, with the camera at hand, taking shots, admiring the many sights of Rome, this is what travelling is about – this is what makes tourists an easy target, because they are distracted. So to lessen your chances of becoming a “mark”, and to make sure you travel safe in Rome, make sure that you keep alert, take note of the people around you, and be aware of your surroundings, no matter where you are.