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safety in barcelona

Cresskill, New...
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safety in barcelona

We are just back from Barcelona and had no problems with safety. As in any other large city, one needs to be aware. My husband was "patted" 3 times on one subway line, but that was not an issue since his money was zipped into his inner jacket pocket. I observed 2 different young men eyeing my handbag, but since it was a very secure, small, over the front bag, with a strong strap, they both quickly became uninterested. We have travelled a lot and our experience is that when you get too comfortable and stop taking reasonable precautions, you get hit. That said, we were constantly warned by shopkeepers, hotel staff , restauranteurs, and the TI to be careful. So - be careful, but dont let this destroy your visit to such a wonderful place.

northern ireland
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1. Re: safety in barcelona

Thanks for this helpful post. I have just booked a trip to Barcelona- the first for my husband and I, and I am a little nervous about the crime.

Reports about the levels of crime in the city are offputting. The tripadvisor forums in particular seem to paint rather a negative portrayal of the city (with regard to crime problems). It's good to read a more positive account for a change!

San Diego
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for San Diego
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2. Re: safety in barcelona

Thanks for writing lovetotrav!!

It is good to have folks write about their positive experiences so people won't think that everyone who comes to Barcelona is the victim of a crime!

c-burd, You can also read my trip report on this page. We are very street smart and also had no probs with crime!

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3. Re: safety in barcelona

Pickpockets are a huge problem in Barcelona. The locals clearly know who they are and where they operate - when queuing for tickets shopkeepers openly warn them off.

My point is that Barcelona is such a fabulous city it a great pity that the police don't rid the city of this enormous problem.

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4. Re: safety in barcelona

Prior to my recent trip, I'd read with interest and amusement the debate (and sometimes vitriol) being tossed about regarding the level of street crime in Barcelona. Having just returned from 5 days there, here's my observation:

At no time did I feel unsafe walking (or qeued-up) anywhere in the Eixample, Gothic Quarter or on La Rambla. My wife and I experienced no street crime, roving bands of gypsies or even anyone who looked nefarious.

In no way do I want to diminish the comments & negative feelings of those who've been victimized - just the opposite; their posts on this issue made us both much more aware of security and our personal belongings while in Barcelona than we would have been otherwise. I can understand the angst of locals who get tired of the attention this topic gets but from a tourist's point of view, it was actually quite helpful.

Having said that, here's what matters: I've never enjoyed myself in a big city anywhere in the world as much as I did my time in Barcelona. The city is stunning, interesting and exciting. I also found it friendly by big-city standards. I'd recommend Barcelona to anyone and declare it a 'must' for any travellers under 30 (if only!). I'm already wishing away the time before my next visit.

Denver, CO
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5. Re: safety in barcelona

I was in Barcelona Sept 22-27 and thankfully had no issues. I attribute it to being aware of my surroundings and taking the necessary precautions in order to not fall victim. I carried a cross-body purse that stayed in front of me, and on my body, at all times. My friend carried his cash and credit card in his front pocket. I purchased a leg safe for extra cash and credit card that was worn under my jeans (corporatetravelsafety.com/catalog/deluxe-hid…). My friend also carried his DSLR camera & extra lenses every day. Never once did we feel as if anyone was trying to invade our space.

I felt very safe in Barcelona, and I hope to some day return. I had a wonderful time and I hope future travelers do not let the pickpocketing horror stories ruin their upcoming trip, but rather make them aware of the situations and how to help prevent most issues. Here is one situation I had not heard of, which I found interesting, because I can see how I might have been in the same boat...

While at the BCN Airport, waiting for our plane to depart, I spoke to one lady who had her bag stolen while attending a private cooking class. There were 12 people enrolled in the class and while they were cooking, two visitors came into view the lessons. Since she was cooking, she didn't have hold of her purse and she believes the 2 visitors were the culprits. She was upset at herself for feeling too comfortable and letting her guard down.

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6. Re: safety in barcelona

I've visited Barcelona many times and have never had a problem with petty crime. The fact that I am a shaven-headed, ugly, six foot-something misanthrope who looks like I will bite your head off sooner than say hello may, or may not, have something to do with it.

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7. Re: safety in barcelona

Don't put yourself down ;)

Saw nothing myself and that was within quite a few big crowds last weekend.

Since a couple of things over the years but hardly anymore than i'd see in any other large city.

Never ever felt unsafe even in the early hours of a morning.

Sydney, Australia
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for Train Travel
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8. Re: safety in barcelona

>>it a great pity that the police don't rid the city of this enormous problem.<<

And how do you propose that the police do this? First they have to catch a pickpocket in the act and, very strangely, there are no thefts while there are police around. Even if they catch someone, it will be some time before it gets to court, and the tourist who was robbed will not be around to give evidence.

Tarragona, Spain
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9. Re: safety in barcelona

Whilst all the issues in the last post are of enormous importance, the Spanish/Catalan legislation which classifies thefts of a value lower than 400€ as "misdemeanours" rather than as "crimes" (unless the "misdemeanour" is repeated more than 4 times in which case it automatically becomes classified as a crime; but unfortunately Barcelona authorities have not seen fit to invest in an efficient computer program which logs misdemeanours and rings a bell when the magic number is reached) is still more important.

Edinburgh, Scotland
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10. Re: safety in barcelona

My husband and I were in Barcelona for 5 days recently and one night at the bottom of the Ramblas I became aware of some skin touching my left arm(my husband was on my right and slightly in front of me). I was wearing a very strong Kipling cross the body bag with a number of zips and compartments. A female had managed to open one of the compartments and had her hand in it. The compartment contained only my umbrella and a light weight raincoat so she wouldn't have got my cash or cards (they were not only in another double zipped compartment but my purse is also clipped into my bag). My immediate reaction was pure rage and I gave her a hefty punch on her arm and shoulder and she scuttled across the road. No harm done really but it certainly pays to be cautious. I wish we'd had the sense to take her photo but it all happened so quickly and I was too angry to think straight and my husband was trying to work out why I had suddenly turned into a raging, ranting lunatic.

We had a great time in Barcelona and we'd certainly go back.