Just last week, at least a dozen hits were successful: snatch, robberies and attacks, even for a few euros or a smartphone. Last Friday, a woman was taken to hospital after some gangsters tore her purse in broad daylight, on the way to the Atlantic Ocean, from Eur. A thirty-one year old, however, was targeted by a Gambian boy who tried to steal his wallet while waiting for the tram in via Prenestina.
In Corso Italia, in the city center, one Pharmacy she was robbed twice in three days. “They entered the first time on Wednesday and had the proceeds handed over to us with a knife, the second Saturday, when they threatened us with a gun to get 800 euros “, says the owner. “The employees are in shock, we try to keep up the morale – he confides – of course, we always had robberies, but two in the same week had never happened to us”.
Last night, still in the same area, a Nigerian boy threatened and attacked a fifty-year-old boy to have his wallet handed over, causing him a lacerated-bruised injury to his hand. “Last week another lady was stolen, traders are very worried,” he explains Paolo Peroso, jeweler and president of the Friends of Porta Pia Association. There are many shutters in the area that have been lowered, although phase two has started for almost a month. Those who have taken the big step, now, are afraid: “Think what it can mean for a shopkeeper to suffer a robbery at a time when there is no money to do the restocking of the goods”. There is only one answer: “The failure of the business”.
In Peroso jewelry, it is accessed only by lowering the mask. “Many ask customers to be recognized before entering, it is a way to protect us,” he underlines. “The administration could do more on the security front, here the lighting is practically absent in the evening,” the jeweler reports. “I’m worried, with the situation around, people have no more money, things like that are more likely to happen,” a tobacconist also tells us.
Among the targets preferred by criminals are pharmacies, supermarkets and convenience stores. The owners of the activities are attacked even just to get a few tens of euros or alcohol, as happened to a Bengali employee employed in a grocery store in via Ostiense. Both he and his owner were beaten up by a homeless man who wanted to take over fifty euros. The same scene happened a stone’s throw from the historic center, in via Arenula, where two clochards took a Bengali shopkeeper by the bottle to take away wine, beer and spirits.
“There is everything from the professional to the straggler who needs money for a dose of drugs or for shopping”, he explains Giuseppe Longo, pharmacist from Piazza Vittorio. “Attacks are now the order of the day, during the lockdown – he says – a non-EU member came in and made his way with strong manners, spitting on customers: he was identified but not arrested”.
“With phase two, all those situations of social unease that bring crime under the eyes of all are re-emerging,” assures Longo. For the pharmacist robberies e aggressions will be more frequent. “For this reason, I advise colleagues who have not yet done so to have cameras and security systems,” he concludes. Paradoxically, the historic center is the most exposed according to committees and associations. “With the absence of tourists, the streets of the neighborhoods were filled with dozens of thugs,” he assures Augusto Caratelli, president of the Esquiline Defense Committee. “Empty streets obviously encourage theft and stealing,” he notes.
“Many activities are still unable to reopen, poverty is advancing and this is the ideal ground for crime to grow”, Peroso also agrees. With some local colleagues he organized himself to illuminate the streets of the neighborhood at the expense of the shopkeepers. “We want to get involved to help make the roads safer – he continues – the road is life, lifeless and with the fear that something might happen, we cannot start again”.