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Crime -- again!

barcelona
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Crime -- again!

Hi, realise I'm not going to win many new friends, and perhaps ruffle some old laggards and DEs on here - BUT - I have to report, again about street crime.

Little bit of background - lived here 7 years. Came to live here (from the UK) because I loved the place - and still do.

When I first lived here I used to say exactly as others here have said 'Have your wits about you .. Barcelona? No worse than anywhere else etc etc etc blah blah.' BUT, petty crime here IS getting more frequent, and more serious than, say, 3 years ago.

I live in the Eixample - not a hotbed of bag-snatchers and pickpockets - However, I have to report that three weeks ago, our very local bar, just 50 meters away, was broken into and turned over. The following day the local pharmacy (100 meters away) was robbed by three lads armed with a pisto; the very same day our neighbours' apartment, on the 7th floor, was burgled, and in between the number 55 bus, which stops outside our apartment, was held up by a crazy with a knife. And, a local woman got robbed (400 euros) at the ATM across the street.

'Oh, yeah, happens everywhere, just be careful.' Sorry, doesn't wash.

All this happened within a 400 meter radius within four days.

And, today, this very afternoon, (NOT in the Eixample though) two friends visiting from the U.S. (mother and daughter) were robbed on Calle Princesa.

Now, the mother, from Mass. (originally from Maine) is a seasoned international traveller, (travels to Spain twice a year on business and many other countries) very savvy and street smart. The robbers didn't get her bag with money, cards etc (nor her very expensive Nikon camera).

It was a variation on an old dodge. Unseen, someone threw hot coffee at her then a guy stepped forward, seemingly concerned, offering help. 'Up there,up there' he said, pointing to a balcony, offering serviettes to soak up the mess. While distracted, in a split second, his accomplice grabbed the leather (laptop) bag she had just bought (200 euros) as a gift, containing only her scarf and a few other small, gifty items. It was her final few hours in Barcelona. Instead of watching the U.S.A. v England World Cup soccer match (which she was very much looking forward to) she had to waste hours in the comisaria (police station) filing a report. Upside was (and her 17 year old daughter agreed) the police officer she dealt with was a 'real cutey, gorgeous, patient, understanding and just so good looking'. 'I think,' she said.'The police in New York feast on too many doughnuts.'

To her credit she was very sanguine about it, her daughter not so much - the experience has really shaken her trust in other humans - but, she says, 'It was a lesson learned.'

'What lesson is that?' I asked.

'Never trust cute looking guys offering help.'

So, how ever street smart you think you are, please, be extra vigilant while enjoying the sights here. Especially in El Born, Barrio Gotico, Las Ramblas, Plaza de Catalunya, El Raval - and on the airport train, Placa de Espanya metro station, and Line 4 (yellow line) between Barceloneta and Verdaguer.

Barcelona really is a beautiful, beautiful city, with much to offer the curious, the intrepid, the romantic ...

'What a souvenir,' our very local bar owner, still sorting the mess from his break-in, said when I reported the tale of our friends' experience. 'Will they ever come back?'

Edited: 17 July 2010, 17:30
81. Re: Crime -- again!

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83. Re: Crime -- again!

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84. Re: Crime -- again!

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85. Re: Crime -- again!

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86. Re: Crime -- again!

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key west
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87. Re: Crime -- again!

Please stop this thread. Chris, you're right. Barcelona has the most "crime" topics of any of the forums I have visited. My husband and I travel frequently, so I visit many forums both stateside and overseas and have never seen this much paranoia and exaggerations and anacdotal evidence. Like others on this forum, I was really preoccupied looking for pickpockets on every corner during my May trip to Barca, at least for the first two day. I then relaxed and realized I was in a big, crowded city no different than the one I grew up in, NYC ,or the ones I have visited before and I relaxed. I will be in Rome in Oct then back to Barcelona, Yea, and will take my usual precautions and not let this thread or any other deter me from having a wonderful time. BTW, we did have my two, young adult, children on the last trip and none of us had any problems with crime.

88. Re: Crime -- again!

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Barcelona, Spain
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89. Re: Crime -- again!

crime isnt that big of an issue if you have some common sense and look out for your stuff. during the world cup final, the metros were packed. this guy tried to push himself in, but the metro doors wouldnt close, so he had to get out. as he got out, the guy next to me pulled his wallet out and when coins fell out of his pocket, he knew his wallet was gone. by the time he looked up, the metro doors closed. his face was priceless yet sad. if he kept his hands in his pockets during this time, he wouldnt have gotten his wallet stolen. its common sense to hold onto your stuff when it gets crowded.

barcelona
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90. Re: Crime -- again!

Hi, my original post has been deleted. Anyone have any ideas why? I was simply expressing concern with the aim of encouraging visitors' to learn from others' experiences and not their own.

Anyway, couple of updates.

Firstly, good news for visitors - the official crime rate for the whole city is DOWN by 4% and, better, the rate in Ciutat Vella (the main tourist zone) is DOWN 6% on the same period last year. Not bad going when you consider the overall number of visitors has increased 15% in the same period. So, the strategy of increasing numbers of police in Ciutat Vella is (or looks to be) achieving results.

However, the crime rate in areas such as Les Corts (the area surrounding Camp Nou - FC Barcelona stadium) Horta and Nou Barris and the Eixample is up between 1-2%. Which underlines what I am seeing, hearing and experiencing locally.

Secondly, at the annual meeting of the local hoteliers association the president made a keynote speech which touched on the crime issue. The larger part of his address was concerned with the pros and cons of introducing a local tourist tax - However, after pointing out that the hospitality sector directly employs 25,000 workers and indirectly maintains another 150,000 jobs, which could be jeopardised by persistent crime, the president backed calls for the introduction of a system of visitors being able to report crimes at their hotels. If there wasn't a problem then there wouldn't be a desire for such a system.

Finally, the local Mossos have reported a noticeable change of tactics with pickpockets - and they are warning visitors to be especially vigilant in the immediate vicinity of their hotel (and tourist sites such as Sagrada Familia and Parc Guell). Apparently thieves are now targetting hotel entrances (presumably because the more visible presence of police on the street has displaced activity). If the local police are issuing such advice then it's as well to take note - they are not in the business of scare-mongering. Reagrds. Enjoy Barcelona.

Edited: 17 July 2010, 14:35