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Crime in Barcelona

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We are planning a trip to Barcelona and have been told by several people that the crime rate (particularly pick pocketing) is very bad in Barcelona. Has anyone else experienced this? We always try to be alert for thieves but want to be informed before we leave.

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Yes, we have experienced being told by several people about the high crime rate in Barcelona. :rolleyes: Mostly by people who had not been there or who were reciting third hand what they had heard from someone else.:rolleyes: There is very little gun crime or violent crime. What's it like where you reside?

 

No guns, very little violence in Barcelona and Europe in general. But there is opportunistic crime: You give them the opportunity and they will take it (and your possessions).

 

Take precautions; be sensible; be aware; enjoy the trip!

 

PS. Lots of posts on this subject on the forum already. Just browse down the various threads.

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It’s all professional pick pockets who converge the city. Very crafty. They use their children too. Most look like the average tourist.

 

 

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The answer is simply to never put down a bag on the ground. This includes while checking in at a hotel. Keep hold of your hand luggage at all times. A performer on one of our cruises lost his at his Barcelona hotel. Lost all his music for the show which caused him and the theatre people a lot of trouble!

 

 

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We loved Barcelona but you need to be careful we had a money belt that we see all through Europe , like most big cities need to be careful .

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I agree what others have said. If you're going to high tourist areas there will also be pickpockets.

 

I used a money belt but also carried a purse. I had zero problems. On one street my phone actually fell out of my purse and a nice Barcelona resident pointed out that it fell out.

 

So there are bad apples but no more than at other European Cities . Don't hang a purse on your seat back at restaurants keep it at your feet. Don't leave it if you get up for any reason. You will have no problems if you use common sense.

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Just be aware of your surroundings...but please don't be so paranoid you can't enjoy yourself.

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I stayed there a few days pre-cruise in 2017 and will be doing so again next spring. It was really fun (fantastic sangrias, btw) and we didn’t see or experience anything unpleasant or unusual. Enjoy!

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"Crime in Barcelona" threads crop up on Cruise Critic regularly.

Sometimes for Rome & Naples too.

 

But not for New York, London, Paris or other big cities with almost the same petty-crime rates.:confused:

 

Yes, Barcelona has much higher rates than smaller Spanish towns.

Same thing in cities in Italy, the United States, England, France......

And probably the same to a degree for Savannah / Charleston rather than Bluffton.

 

Like the vast majority of visitors to Barcelona, I've never had a problem there.

But unlike the vast majority of visitors to Paris, an (unsuccessful) attempt was made to pick my pocket on the metro.

 

We're all tourists, and tourists are targeted.

Nothing we wear or do will disguise the fact that we are tourists.

Best we can do is to avoid looking like vulnerable tourists - and there are plenty of those for the ne'er-do-wells to target instead of you.

Take a few sensible precautions such as zippered pockets or money-belt, and being aware that those who approach you or accidentally jostle you may be thieves.

 

JB :)

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The biggest mistake made by many tourists is to focus on Barcelona street crime to the exclusion of the rest of Europe. Street crime (primarily pick pockets and purse snatchers) exists throughout Europe. In Barcelona a long time problem has been the lack of prosecution by the local government which does encourage many Roma (gypsies) to ply their trade in this city. When traveling anywhere, one should always practice some basic personal security measures...regardless of location. One does not need to get carried away with precautions as most street criminals target the easiest marks. For nearly forty years of extensive travel I simply keep my wallet (surrounded by 2 rubber bands) in a front pocket which I secure with a large safety pin. DW also just wears her purse cross-shoulder and secured the zipper with a large safety pin. We learned our safety pin technique from a retired US Secret Service Agent (who we met on a European river cruise).

 

And ladies, do not be stupid and put your purse under your seat:). We watched a fellow cruiser get relieved of her purse that was sitting under her seat at a cafe on the Ramblas. Fortunately for her, another man saw what happened and chased down the thief. When her purse was returned to her she was shocked...since she had no idea it was even gone.

 

Hank

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I use a pac safe money satchel that hangs around my neck, I can hang it to the front or side. I also put my cell phone in there too. It has cut proof straps. It can hidden underneath your shirt. Also when I had to have my backpack I always wore it with one strap going on my shoulder and have it to sit between my arm and body sitting toward the front of me, especially in busy areas like Las Ramblas and the metro. I was always also very aware of my surrounding.

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When we were there in May, we felt very safe and didn't have any of those "interactions" the professional pickpocketers employ to unsuspecting tourists. Well, unless you want to count the guys peddling the selfie sticks (that was all over Europe though) and the young "businessman" who was trying to sell us coke. Once we said "NO" to both, they backed off. We actually found it funny that the dealer initially offered weed, then went straight to coke...what a stretch!:D

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Seriously concerned about types of responses given to OP.

 

Lets focus on what matters to tourists especially type who seek advice on CC here: Pickpocketting and purse snatching. (Not mugging)

 

Have heard numerous encounters (most of them successful by the culprits).

 

We are not talking about just novice Americans first time in Europe. Seasoned travellers having grown up in third world countries with nuisance of pickpocketting have faced incidents in Barcelona.

 

Pickpocket nuisance has increased dramatically over the last decade (not just Italy and Greece). Paris public transport has become a big problem too,

 

But nowhere the profession is practices with zeal and expertise as in Barcelona.

 

Not only you have to take usual precautions (under shirt/pant money belt, etc) but you have to be on constant alert to make sure that you are not picked as a target. Because once you are targetted, it is very difficult not to fall victim.

 

We travel to Europe 2-3 times a year and find this a growing nuisance.

 

You will find plenty of smartass folks with "It can happen anywhere in the world." or "Our city is safer than New York".comments but the reality is this:

a) If you overestimate the nuisance, the only cost is the anxiety

b) If you underestimate the nuisance, it can ruin your vacation and then some.

 

Leave passport in hotels and carry color photocopies

DO not use ATM unlless it is inside a branch in busy area

Take money out early before venturing out

Take only limited money with you

Take limited credit cards (and no debit cards) with you

Companions should carry their own different credit cards

Use under the clothes money belt

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Having been to Barcelona a few times and actually watched these pickpockets operate once from our balcony in las rambles, this is how it works. There a a Gang of Four or five people spread out along the street, the first one is the spotter who identifies the target, he then alerts the thieves usually 2 people who manage to lift either a wallet or purse from an unsuspecting target who may have been distracted, very swiftly the stolen article is passed to another member of the gang who moves away from the victim, it all happens in the blink of an eye and was fascinating to watch, unfortunately not for the poor victims, we were too far away to alert anyone and it was over before we could actually react. The key is to be alert to who is around you, don’t take out too much cash and keep your valuables in front of you in a cross over bag or front pocket shorts, and separate credit cards and cash. But it’s a great city, enjoy.

 

 

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Not sure if it was Barcelona or another Spanish port, but on our cruise in May, we met a very well-traveled couple who take all the precautions. Nevertheless, she reported that while on a bus, she looked down just in time to see a woman with her hand in her husband's ZIPPERED front pocket. Our friend grabbed the pick-pocket's arm and scared her away. Moral - even zipper pockets are not safe in a crowd. Use a safety pin or keep your own hand on your own wallet at all times in those situations. As an added precaution, when my husband and I are sight-seeing, we try to keep him on my left - that way I block access to his right front pocket and he is on the side I carry my cross-body bag if I am using it that day.

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Not sure if it was Barcelona or another Spanish port, but on our cruise in May, we met a very well-traveled couple who take all the precautions. Nevertheless, she reported that while on a bus, she looked down just in time to see a woman with her hand in her husband's ZIPPERED front pocket. Our friend grabbed the pick-pocket's arm and scared her away. Moral - even zipper pockets are not safe in a crowd. Use a safety pin or keep your own hand on your own wallet at all times in those situations. As an added precaution, when my husband and I are sight-seeing, we try to keep him on my left - that way I block access to his right front pocket and he is on the side I carry my cross-body bag if I am using it that day.

I always use a cross-body bag and my husband carry's nothing in his pockets....Oh wait that's when we're home also...so nothing new for us ;):D

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I have a friend who travels to Paris at least once a year and is well aware of the situation. Generally, he keeps his hand in his pocket on the Metro. Last year there was a small bump and within a second his wallet was gone. I just got back from Chicago. In a restaurant I left my camera on the table, even thinking that I would not do that in Europe, especially in Barcelona. In Barcelona, the camera/bag is always attached to me and in front of me.

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We were in Barcelona last week. We got to the train station (close to midnight) and were waiting for an uber. Bags around us, backpacks and purse - must have looked as great targets. H was busy looking at his phone when I felt something hit me - someone threw bird poop (or what looked like bird poop) on our backs. This guy materialized next to us with a tissue, helping H clean his back. He suggested that H put his backpack down so they could clean properly - I suddenly remembered reading about this pickpocketing trick and refused to let H take the backpack off. Fortunately for us, the uber had arrived just then and we managed to get into the car with all our belongings. A little freaked out.

 

Friends had gotten to Barcelona a day earlier. One of them lost her wallet with credit cards and money while shopping after touring Park Guell.

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I am troubled by the people on this thread suggesting that Barcelona is no worse for pickpockets than any other big city - European or elsewhere.

 

Barcelona, by almost every account, ranks as the number one city - worldwide - where you are most likely to be pickpocketed.

 

Keep your eyes up, and I hate to say it, but please be a little extra cautious with anyone who engages with you out of the blue.

 

Safe travels to all....:cool:

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I am troubled by the people on this thread suggesting that Barcelona is no worse for pickpockets than any other big city - European or elsewhere.

 

Barcelona, by almost every account, ranks as the number one city - worldwide - where you are most likely to be pickpocketed.

 

Keep your eyes up, and I hate to say it, but please be a little extra cautious with anyone who engages with you out of the blue.

 

Safe travels to all....:cool:

We have just spent 2 days in Barcelona, walking down La Rambla yesterday afternoon then a 2.5 hour walking tour in the Barri Gotic last evening. Today we walked again on our own for 4 hours. We are not unfamiliar with the ruses of pickpockets but did not see any evidence of any or have any issues ourselves at all. In fact, it was easy to see who were tourists as they clutched their bags to their abdomens like little babies whilst the locals walked confidently but still aware of their belongings.272f44859816a2b0c64a588a379181ff.jpg44c781f7bddde77d9dd89fb04184ce8f.jpga757569f9f6896acfddf106fe658d0e1.jpg

 

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Do you actually think you can spot evidence of a pickpocket? Anyone of the people in your snaps could be a professional pickpocket. What do you think they wear a T-shirt emblazoned with I’m a Pickpocket? The guys in Barcelona who tried it on us were very well dressed and well groomed.

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Wow, we're set to spend 4 days pre-cruise in Barcelona next May, and these threads sure have me not much looking forward to the experience.

We were in Barcelona for about same amount of time several decades ago, and liked the city quite bit. BUT: we had the shaving cream trick performed on us. It was disgusting. (Btw, have never had similar thing happen anywhere else on the planet, though people taunting us in the souks in Marrakesh were equally awful.) Back in the day, we could deal with such things. We're quite elderly now, and I'm not looking forward to having to be so ultra careful: certainly does take some of the joy out of visiting Barcelona.

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We have been on a few cruises to Europe now and I always view topics like these as reminders to be aware and not be stupid, but not as a suggestion we must travel in fear. This one is for Barcelona but it could be Rome or Athens or any number of other cities. Many Americans live in towns that do not have the type of crowds that encourage pickpockets and other street crime (probably smaller towns all over the word can claim the same) and we need a reminder to protect ourselves and our belongings by taking reasonable precautions. As tourists, we are attractive targets because we probably are carrying too much cash and too many credit cards and we are distracted by the sights and sounds we are enjoying. No need to be fearful but there is a need to be aware and act accordingly.

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We have been on a few cruises to Europe now and I always view topics like these as reminders to be aware and not be stupid, but not as a suggestion we must travel in fear. This one is for Barcelona but it could be Rome or Athens or any number of other cities. Many Americans live in towns that do not have the type of crowds that encourage pickpockets and other street crime (probably smaller towns all over the word can claim the same) and we need a reminder to protect ourselves and our belongings by taking reasonable precautions. As tourists, we are attractive targets because we probably are carrying too much cash and too many credit cards and we are distracted by the sights and sounds we are enjoying. No need to be fearful but there is a need to be aware and act accordingly.

 

Excellent post -- says it all.

 

We should be aware but not afraid.

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