Barcelona Hotels Articles

June 12, 2010

Crime in Barcelona: How to Stay Safe

Although Barcelona is one of the safest cities in Europe, there are a few things to keep in mind if you want to enjoy a crime-free holiday. The first is that the main thoroughfares are home to some skilled and professional pick pockets. These people will be invariably well dressed, and look like business people or tourists. They pick easy targets, people who have had a bit to drink or people who are distracted by what’s going on around them. Don’t carry your passport around with you, leave it in your hotel safe or hide it in the Barcelona apartment that you have rented. Keep your valuables secure; if you’re male then the front pocket of your pants is a whole lot harder to get into than an inside jacket pocket; if you’re female ALWAYS wear your handbag facing front, that is, keep it against your chest and never slung over your shoulder behind you. When you’re in a restaurant or cafe keep your bag on your lap, never place it on the ground, even between you and a companion – I have personally witnessed a woman lose her handbag seconds after she put it down while she answered her cell phone. The thief was an immaculately dressed woman in her 30s, wearing an armani suit and looking like she’d just come from a boardroom meeting.

Watch out for scams. Three card monty is the oldest con in the book, whether it’s played with 3 cards or with 3 cups and a pea. Nobody ever wins. Nobody. Ever. When you see someone winning you are looking at one of the conman’s friends. He’ll have several, and every now and again one will win a lot of money, this convinces the mark that the game is one that can be won. It can’t. The winner will walk off, but within 30 minutes he’ll be back to win again. Even stopping to watch the game makes you a mark, because you’ll find yourself in a small compressed bunch of people, and it’s easy to pick-pocket anyone when others are pressed against them. If you stop, make sure that you have empty space all around you and keep an eye out for people trying to move closer.

The main danger areas are Las Ramblas, the walkways leading to the beach and all along the beach, the beach itself, Plaza Espana, Plaza Reial, and Plaza Catalunya.
Beware of scooters! A common method of theft is the use of the scooter, especially where you see a passenger on the back. They fly past and whip bags from shoulders. But only if you’re not looking at them, so if you hear a bike behind you, always turn to see what’s up.

Finally, use your common sense. There are areas of the city that are obviously dodgy late at night, if you’re walking alone stick to the main thoroughfares and avoid the many poorly lit, narrow back streets. If you’ve had too much to drink, take a cab – they’re quite cheap. Always keep a sheet of paper with the address of your barcelona apartment on it, and just hand this to the driver when you get in.

So. The trick to a crime free holiday is using the noggin! Enjoy your stay!!

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