Pickpockets & Thieves, Sevilla
People of Sevilla stay up late, and stay out late. We had to walk a ways to a taxi stand at 4:00 am and were wondering if we would run into mischievious types.... but what we found were a lot of people still sitting in bars (not blasted, by the way)and many couples walking around after a night out.
I suddenly felt a lot safer.
I was walking home from La Carboneria (in the barrio Santa Cruz) one evening after a fun night out, and took the path I had always taken (never had problems before). I walked past a random guy who was sitting around doing nothing and turned the corner into the next street. Then, the guy ran up behind me, grabbed my purse and tried to steal it. I started screaming but freaked out when I saw he was holding a gun. The gun looked fake and was making plastic sounds (plus, he didn't look like he knew how to use it) so I kept screaming. Then, I fell down, he yanked the bag away and ran off.
I kept screaming and a group of people heard me and came to help. One had a bike and sped off in the direction the thief went. A few minutes later, he came back with my bag and a piece of the toy gun that the thief tried to scare me with. But the thief ran off with my wallet, my cell phone, and my digital camera with 2 months worth of pictures. I reported the crime to the police and was able to cancel my cards, but I was traumatized for a week and it made a huge dent in what was supposed to be my dream trip to Spain.
I later met up with a Spanish friend and told him about this. After I told him the full story (including what the thief looked like) and he told me that chances are, it was an illegal immigrant from Eastern Europe and probably a junkie looking for drug money.
As I am an American and also in the States to be considered a minority on at least 3 accounts ( you can just imagine what I am ;) ) , I am the first to protest generalizations and stereotypes, but facts and statistics can't be refuted. I live in Seville, capital of the economically, poorest region in the nation and ironically the richest in agriculture. Thousands of illegal immigrants from Northern and Central Africa, and Eastern Europe infringe its borders on a daily basis. Without legal documents, experience or proper education, the majority of these outsiders continue to survive the only way they know how, by the only method they're accustomed; by begging, coning and thieving. Please don't misunderstand, in no way am I condoning or justifying their behaviour. I'm just stating that this minority of conartists are doing the same thing here in Spain as they were back in their homeland. Therefore, this just increases the crime-rate / pick-pocket factor in this country up a noch. I mean you need to look out for the gypsy trying to give you an orange blossom in order to tell your fortune by reading your palm, stay clear of highly populated areas where some seemingly nice Spanish guy offers to help clean your stained shirt (which of course he stained from behind without you noticing) as he tries to shift through your companion's bag, and if it looks slightly suspicious please just walk the other way or cross the street or press speed-dial on your cell phone for the American Embassy (just kidding).
I cant speak for the rest of the beautifiul city. However, At the side of the river (NOT CALLE BETIS) the other side with the boats, I have frequently seen late at night 3 boys of North African Origen, attempt and have stolen property from foreigners. They talk firstly to the "victim" to gain confidence and once there guard is down the damage is done. Camaras, documents, cash all gone.
P.S I work in that area so my evidence is 100% correct
P.P.S The Spanish police suggest you make a criminal report, If you do crime figures go up and they will tackle the problem in hand, However, dont report the crime and the cheif of police is unaware of this problem
Well, I live here, and I´ve seen this neibourghood evolves, and, for all travelers, i´d like to say that ALAMEDA DE HÉRCULES is not such a dangerous place anymore. It´s getting rather bougoise indeed, mainly the two `kioskos´ located in the middle. The tip is not to stay very late during the week, around the last extreme of the avenue (calle Calatrava, or around `El Habanilla´ bar, those streets leading to Feria street, like Antonio Susillo), which is the part which still holds the past atmosphere which made this a dangerous place for decades. Weekends all is so full of people, that it would be improbable to suffer danger. If you go to Calle Feria from Alameda, use the perpendicular streets closer to the center of the avenue, for example Periz Mencheta Street, which, by the way, has a nice restaurant, called La Madraza. In case, you prefer to be really safe, there´s a taxi stop in the left side of the avenue (if you come from Amor de Dios Street).
You can get robbed anywhere. My friends had an interesting experience in which a moto ran off with their purse. They were walking around Plaza Espana, which at night is lonely and dark.
Word to the wise: always walk with your purse crossed over you chest or opt for small purses that are secured right under your armpit. Guys: do not carry your wallet in your back pocket because it is harder to feel if someone is swiping it from there; opt for a money belt or carry your wallet in your front pocket. Also, do not singal to everyone that you are a tourist-if you are going to check your map, try to do it discreetly and not on the street in front of everyone.
The worst problem for tourist is probably pickpockets. Take care in tourist places, like the Cathedral, Mª Luisa´s Park, etc. and in the crowed zones like Plaza del Duque (where there is a hippy´s market) or Sierpes street.
If your coming by car be careful with car thieves and never leave valuables unattended, for example, keep yours handbags under your control.
Concerning racism, don’t worry about it. Everyone is welcomed.
During my 4 days in this city, I can daresay I felt generally safe. Yes, Sevilla is a safe place to stay, shop and sightsee.
As always, 'tis advisable to be on the alert when you're in a foreign city. Especially if you don't look very 'Spanish' or worse still, don't speak the language (like - ahem - yours truly).
You somehow become a likely target of pickpockets and gypsies. In any case, you don't need to be unduly worried as Spain is definitely a safer place compared to some of her European neighbors (I shan't mention the countries lest I'd be banned from ever entering those countries!).
Just remember some important quick-facts whilst you're in Sevilla (or in any city, for that matter):
· walking alone late at night (after Midnight) on your own (if you're a lady)
· carrying your branded luxury handbag prominently or worse still, hanging it on your chair!
· walking around Sevilla reading the city-map and looking like a typical tourist!
Be extra cautious when you are in and around the area between calle Feria and the Alameda de Hercules in the Macarena quarter. Read: Street prostitution and public drug consumption. I don't know whether the Government has cleaned up this part of the city.... yet.
Incidentally, the Alameda is a preferred hang-out for the hip young Generation Y folks....
We only spent a few days in Sevilla, but overall, the city is a safe city as long as you use common sense (i.e. don't walk down dark alleys, etc.) While we had absolutely no problems, there are definitely plenty of places to be mugged such as the many small, narrow, curving alleyways, especially at night. We walked down many of these at various times of the day and night with no trouble. Ironically enough, we saw one scooter-borne mugging beneath a petty theft warning sign near the main cathedral: a thief riding on a moped snatched a purse from a woman who was traveling with several other women. The incident occured around 10 pm near all the bars near the cathedral. Watch out for those moped riders! Anyway, stay alert and cautious, and all should be well.
When at a cafe or bar on the street with your camera (or other) bag try placing one leg of your chair through the strap of the bag. Now anyone taking of with it has to drag you and your chair with them. Keep you bags on your lap, or in your direct line of sight while you are sitting, but I don't recommend putting them in another chair. Try keeping at least an arm or something through a strap on the bag.
If you plan to use it keep your wallet in your front pocket and not your back. I've heard of some carrying a dummy wallet in their back pocket, but must ask why? Unless your idea of a good time is attracting the local pickpockets. Although I don't personally like them I do recommend using a money belt. Always have a back-up plan so you have a credit card or traveler's checks located in another place - be it your bag, your hotel safe or someone else traveling with you.
Spain is too secure, or at least i have this feeling about good people at Spain, so maybe that was our problem, i went with a friend to sevilla and we feel so secure and very relax that we went out in the night to some place that a taxi driver told us. We had travel experience but that night we didn't care, so we start drinking in this bar next to the Guadalquivir River.. suddenly we were little drunk, we made a lot of friends and was very late, so we didn't notice that turns some dangerous. Then i felt something behind me, i watch and was a man with his hand in my purse!!!!!!! so he ran , then i told this to my friend and she said 'realy, well at least they didn't took anything' but then my friends look at her purse and she wasn't lucky, she had her passport in her purse and somo other stuff (not money , just some papers, etc) and they took all that... so next day in the morning she went to the police and made a declaration, then we went to the USA Embassy and was very frustrating coz they close at 12pm!!!!!!!!!!!! so, why are they for??? just 4 hours a day??? my friend was desperate so she went the other day very early and they were nice but they couldn't give her other passport, so we had to travel to Madrid and the USA Embassy overe there was quickly and with just the police declaration of the robber (and of course some money) she have a new passport.. we lost 2 days of our vacations coz that....(picture: me and my friend just couple of inutes before the robber..haha)
Only in the very touristic places,like Cathedral,Plaza de España,Parque de Maria luisa. etc. you keep yours handbags under your control,beware of pickpockets!!
It is like most places, you have to be sensible. There are a lot of thieves about and depending on your apartment, you must keep doors and windows locked at night, as when I was there we caught a burglar in the hall way which was quite scary but he soon fled. Keep purses etc. hidden well away, like you would any where in the world.
Much care if you come to Seville in car, always leave it in parking. There are not more robberies than in other mediterranean countries, but watch over your belongings and don't lower the watch, it is always better to prevent.