Barcelona is for pickpockets
by oferdesade - last update: Apr 24, 2011
although barcelona is one of the most exciting, beautiful cities I've ever visited, it is number 1 in the world for pickpockets. when i asked locals about this (at the police station where i reported and at the hotel), the reply was, "where there are lots of tourists, there are lots of pickpockets".
this, of course, is baloney, because they far outstrip rome, london, paris and other high-pressure tourist locales.
but, of course, since it is such a wonderful place and since we would all like to do our bit to help the barcelon police in their half-hearted attempt at fighting this blight, i would suggest boycotting barcelona until they show some signs of success in their fight.
after all, if there will be less tourists, maybe (according to their logic) the pickpockets will also go elsewhere.
nearly everyone falls victim
the blonde at the picasso museum, my dad, nobody actually brings this up until you tell them that you too were vandalized. then, suddenly, you realize that it's nearly every second tourist in barcelona who has had to divert his money - not to enjoyment, but to some petty thief's retirement fund.
the story is always the same - i've been to the far east, africa, everywhere which should be less safe. but the expertise of these people is so high that it can only be the result of unhindered practice.
my dad - and i will admit that he tends towards the the melodramatic conspiracy theory narrative in general - is certain that he was followed from the hotel and reported upon by the clerk, the taxi driver etc. all the way to the airport where he lost 600 euros. other people tell stories of mere carelessness.
whatever the story, why should we spend our vacation in a paranoid mindset? why should all those thousands go down the drain for the lifting of a coupla hundred. even if the loss is slight, the insult is enough to ruin a well-planned, well paid for vacation that should be spent in a mood of uninhibited joy.
and if barcelona cant supply that, then let's go somewhere else, less beautiful, perhaps, less exciting, but more carefree, from which we wont come back home sorry
Read more: http://members.virtualtourist.com/m/1509a6/#ixzz1KRuk72dp
or know someone who has, I would ask you to please join our Facebook group, "I know someone who got robbed in Barcelona" (http://www.facebook.com/RobbedInBarcelona) and, optionally, tell us (or copy and paste) your story. We are working to get action taken and turn the tides on this rampant thievery epidemic (which has gotten and is getting worse--it's a free-for-all in which the thieves are more brazen than ever and acting with utter impunity), and the numbers do and will help.
Thank you and be safe.
Barcelona is in general a safe town where violent crime is rare, however you should always be aware of pickpockets as they are extremely good.
Tourist are usually the main target so just be extra careful with your belongings as sometimes robberies can be avoided by just being a little bit extra careful.
Basic security advices:
- Keep your documents safe: Do not carry your ID or passport, always leave it at your hotel. A photocopy is usually enough.
- Do not leave your luggage or belongings unattended at any given time.
- Suspect of anyone that seems to be too friendly.
- Do not let people getting too close to you.
- Be specially careful of people saying that you have a stain on your clothing, don’t let them clean it as they are probably trying to rob you.
- Do not show large amounts of money.
- Be careful with people asking for directions, as this is one of the tactics used. Again, don’t let people get too close.
- Be careful when withdrawing money from an ATM, always have a look around before withdrawing money.
On arriving outside are apartment after getting a taxi from the airport, my friend was 600 euros down after just 2 minutes! Arriving with all are luggage and a confused look upon are faces we fell victim to a petty pickpocket. A female approached use all (four lads) and asked use to sign a charity form, seeing no harm in this my friend signed. On signing the female put the clipboard up close to his face whilst doing so helping her self to 600 euros in his pocket. Non of use realised due to use concentrating on getting into the apartment and watching the suitcases! She hit use at are most vunerable point! My second incident was on the metro, this time on the way to the airport. After are first experience we had been cautious all week, howeveranother of my friends wallet managed to get taken! On boarding the metro at Urquinaona around 5 males pushed in-between are group, separating myself and a friend from the two others; we both had suitcases. At first noting was thought of it due to how busy it was. However they then separated use further and I charged through the middle of them, good job I did! My shoulder bag was half open with my headphones hanging out, after are first encounter I would never leave my bag like that! If it wasn't for a very nice Spanish male who grabbed my friends wallet of the pickpocket it would of been another success fir the petty criminals! Barcelona is a beautiful city however this kind of crime ruins it completely!
Went on a trip with 12 friends a week ago. Brilliant city and the Catalans are really friendly and hospitable people, but the only let down was the thieves. We had three attempted pickpocketing instances and saw one person on the Rambla's who had been a victim.
One thing I noticed in common was the thieves were really overdressed including really terrible hats a lot of them looked like that would of fitted in well in rubbish band in the mid 90's, I also noticed they work in teams, the pickpockets are usually the character with the naff hat on then the lookouts/spotters look a bit trampy, but be wary their quite well diguised at times. I hate to bring race into this but they were all of North African origin (Algerian, Moroccan, Tunisian)
The tactics I've seen used so far have involved trying to push people towards the door of the metro we shoved the pickpocket away. Taking off a jacket whilst sat down on a chair with their back turned in a cafe and trying to go through a coat pocket at the La Sagrada Familia, someone trying to get close to grab a pair of sunglasses in someones coat.
One odious character who I came quite close to punching was a bloke in his 40's with a really bad set of broken teeth, he will try to sell you drugs whilst your outside a bar having a cigarette. We bumped into him again on the Rambla's when there was three of us, this time he wearing a different cap and coat this time, with five more of his mates for company, this time the atmosphere was more aggressive and very edgy they tried to surround us, after a few stern words they backed off but be very wary of the bottom part of the Rambla's once it get dark this was where we bumped into them.
- My best bit of advice is to firstly enjoy yourself Barcelona is an amazing city, but be vigilant in the tourist area's and on public transport.
- Try to fit in and not look lost, maps, taking photo's of everything, people will be watching for the minute you let your guard down.
- Let people know your alert. Make eye contact with people near you on the metro, in cafe's and bars etc.
- If you think someone is trying to go through your possessions or getting too close to you, don't be afraid to challenge them they are cowards.
Barcelona is a pickpocketing nightmare. I have been there three times and have fended off Barcelonas petty thieves each time. On my last visit I grabbed one of the teenage girls who lifted my wallet on the Metro. I yelled "Police, Police" until her accomplices through my wallet (intact) down on the Metro platform. The police apparently have no interest in stopping this activity since it would be easy to have an officer act as a tourist and arrest a few of these creeps. Until they show some interest in protecting tourists from this business, Barcelona should be OFF LIMITS. There are many other excellent tourist attraction in Europe without having to constantly be on guard against Barcelona's leading industry.
A relative of mine, with a friend of hers, were awaiting a Barcelona subway train. Two men approached them, claimed to be police and asked to see their passports.
The ladies dug out their passports, which they kept in their wallets. The men grabbed a wallet and took off running.
The ladies lost 800 Euros, cards and ID.
i was in barcelona BCN, in sep/oct 2010 , i was hit 3 times in 2 weeks mostly in metro station and outside
i witness others being hit too
the theives are all well dress an clean cut too
in the airport there was an incident which i m anothe traveller witness
it is indeed a situation where even the locals are resigned, a local frd got hit 2 weeks ago b4 i went BCN
so be on high alert , treat all strangers with suspect......sorry , unless u wat to lose yr belongings....
All people I talk with, tell me to avoid them. So, I have decided to avoid all pickpockets here in Barcelona. I am here to have fun and take many beautiful pictures. I will NOT let noone take my important things for me. No Way!
After I wrote this tip, I meet two girls from the hostel and they were from Ukraine. They lost their money, or more exactly. Someone robbed them on a bag with money, flight tickets and passports. So, beware of the pickpockets and put money in more places then one. Just one minute can make your trip to an awful memory, so be beware of it and try to avoid that the pickpockets try to rob you. So, far I have been lucky. I also hope you will have a good memory of Barcelona!
On my last trip this year to Barcelona in August 2010, I got to know people who also lost some things because of thieves.
While on vacation in Barcelona with my mom, dad, sister, grandma and grandpa we used the metro alot. On Friday afternoon in June we were waiting for the metro around the La Rambla and looking at our maps and the metro map. Two clean cut young guys wearing polo shirts and jeans were standing near us while waiting for the train. When the train arrived one of the guys walked to the entrance to the train to the right of us and the other guy was entering behind us. The first guy entered to the right and turned back toward where we entered and "dropped" his cellphone right in front of my grandfather. He bent down to pick it up and "accidently" pushed it away and tried to grab it again. My grandpa has lived in quite a few places and he is old but he is farely swift. He felt the other guy who entered the train behind him push up against him behind and him and he realized the guy who dropped his cellphone was blocking him from moving so the other guy could pickpocket him. My grandpa then came up with a hard knee in the back of the guys thigh who dropped his cellphone and pushed by him. The guy finally grabbed his phone and the two ran out of the metro right before the doors closed. Luckily all the guy pickpocketing him got was his notebook which had nothing of importance because my grandpas wallet was in his front pocket. Later the same afternoon while climbing the steps of the metro another man "slipped" and fell into my grandpa and kept pushing against him so he couldn't move forward. My grandpa then pushed the man hard and walked up the rest of the steps and the man did not take anything. It seems that a key target for pickpockets is elderly tourists because they are typically kind of slow and because they are tourists they are not very aware of their surroundings. Throughout our stay we gathered that you have to be wary of young men who are farely clean cut and wearing polo shirts and jeans. After that we were more cautious to watch out for young men wearing polo shirts or looked farely clean cut. We saw quite a few groups of two or three men who would watch us and follow us into the train and then when we made sure to stay in a tight group and watch them with a close eye they would get off at the next stop or so and just wander around to a different train with no apparent destination. Overall the pickpocketing seems to get worse the closer to the La Rambla and to the more touristy areas.
Both my partner and I visit Barcelona regularly, it was the first week in May 10 when we were heading towards the Gothic Quarter leaving the Ramblas between McDonalds and KFC at approx 2am. 2 males approached us trying to sell us football tickets and asking if my partner enjoyed football. One of them put their arm around my partner and started to pretend to kick a football trying to joke and laugh with him. The other distracted me by trying to sell me some football tickets. My partner felt a hand on his back pocket and then realised that his wallet had been taken (the pickpocket had opened his button on the back of his jeans within 10 seconds of meeting us). My partner tried to grab hold of him but the thief ran away, he grabbed hold of the other one and somehow he was in possession of his wallet but he wasn’t the one who stole it. The wallet was thrown on the floor whilst my partner still had hold of him and his immediate instinct was to pick it up (and let go of the thief). He ran off and my partner gave chase, I did not know what was happening until my partner shouted “He’s got my wallet”, I then sat waiting for approx 15 minutes not knowing what was happening. We are both very vigilant whilst in Barcelona and luckily had split up our money and although they made away with approx 70 Euros it could have been worse. We both understand that thieves are about all the time, however we clearly weren’t vigilant enough on this occasion. Please please be aware there are nasty people around who want your hard earned money.
My wife and I paid the Barcelona Tourist tax. I think our loss was in the low catergory of value, we lost a wallet with a credit card and about 70 euros. Credit card was cancelled before any attempted activity. What was suprising was the activity at the police station, a tourist couple a min. with their sad story. A rather extinsive police report was taken, which probably cost about the value of my loss. I would have liked to ask the police why this activity is tolerated. When you are robbed it really makes a vacation stink, and to vent my anger about this, I have to give Barcelona 0 stars, meaning just don't go there.
To the Barcelona Tourist Agency, there is technology available to put electronic chips on things, even paper money. Have some police look like tourists and follow the signal from these chips, and do what is necessary. Perhaps in the meanwhile you should forbid tourists to use the Metro, or perhaps post a sign "If you can be robbed, you will be robbed".
We never had problems with pickpockets, but heard from many other travellers and our host that they pose a problem especially around Las Ramblas, but also any other crowded tourist area in Barcelona. It is the perfect environment as Las Ramblas is always crowded and you are permanently distracted by something, with your attention elsewhere pickpockets will have an easy time. Be on your guard, but don`t be paranoid. Don`t carry your passport or irreplaceable items with you, don`t carry all your cash reserves with you but only as much as you think you`ll need, try to keep your valuables close to your body, and rather not in a handbag.
I was recently in Barcelona and these three women tried to rob my friend and me. They tried to do it while we were stopped at a red light in the median of a busy street. One woman holds up a map (so they look like tourists), while another tries to open your bag (with the map to conceal what they are doing), and the third stands guard. The busy street offers a good cover as you don’t think anything of others gathering around you and the noise of the street also hides what they are doing. After a failed attempt at robbing us, we witnessed (and stopped) an attempt on another group of tourists (and got these pics then as well). We saw them again the next day in a different area out at it again (this time with flyers as their guise). I can't imagine a life where you wake up every morning and that's what you do as a job. Hope this helps others visiting Barcelona!
I haven't read anything about Barcelona, when deciding to go and that was my great mistake!!!
I was carrying 500 euros with me, loved the city, wanted to take a photo everywhere!!
When I wanted to get into the metro (Passeig de Garcia), a company of 5 Zigans helped me to buy the tickets and gave me their place.When getting into the metro, they created a crowd, we follow them and my wallet with all my money is gone!!!
I tell you!!!I was in Naples 2 months ago, I felt safe, nothing happened, in Barcelona I lost all my money!!!!
I went to the police and they were indifferent, not willing to help me!!!
It is insane, never go to Barcelona, if you can avoid it!!!!
Gangs of Zigans do their work in front of the eyes of the police.