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Pick Pocket Worries Vastly Over Hyped.

NYC
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Pick Pocket Worries Vastly Over Hyped.

Frankly, we have no idea why people made us so paranoid going to Barcelona and Madrid this month. We are two guys who are city dwellers and have travelled the world from major cities to small towns to remote wildernesses. The hype associated with petit theft in Barc, however, actually got us very concerned.

What a waste of worry. At least in April when we visited. It was no different than any big city. We saw nothing especially disconcerting and found it unnecessary to take any different precautions than we ordinarily would. I carried a money clip and credit card in a front pants pocket that I kept a hand in when in the subway or crowded street or train station, etc. My husband kept a wallet in his front pocket. We left our passports in our hotel room safe along with everything else from our wallets that we wouldn't need while out. You do need ID on occasion so carrying a U.S. driver license was a good idea and perfectly acceptable everywhere ID was needed. We also carried a photocopy of our passports.

My camera bag was shoulder style so I could keep it under my arm in crowds. The zippers clipped shut in a way that no one could open them without me knowing. I was made so paranoid that I bought a PacSafe bag that is kind of theft proof so long as you keep it closed and hold on to it. My husband had a similar PacSafe bag but not for cameras.

In the end, despite going all over Barcelona and Madrid at all hours, no one seriously hassled us on the street, metro, busses, restaurants, markets... Maybe it is being from NYC and projecting something, or maybe it was being two guys, or maybe it was just not as bad as everyone says. Did people approach us sometimes? Yes--beggars, restaurant promotors, nightlife promotors, etc. I'd mumble something like "no gracias" and just keep walking. That was it. If a street or path was empty of people, we avoided it since we weren't familiar enough with areas to know which were safe and which we should be more concerned about. I'd do that in any city.

Does it get worse in summer? Are women targeted more because they carry pocket books? Are less experienced travellers more obvious targets because they leave bags open or loose track of them or get distracted staring at a pretty building or don't know how to respond to a ridiculous ruse? I don't know. But for anyone getting nervous prior to a trip, RELAX! Just take the precautions you would in any city.

uk
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1. Re: Pick Pocket Worries Vastly Over Hyped.

nicely said.................................................mucho gracias

Paris, France
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2. Re: Pick Pocket Worries Vastly Over Hyped.

Excellent report Kyle. Thanks!

NYC
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3. Re: Pick Pocket Worries Vastly Over Hyped.

And fwiw, I read the tips before you go section. All excellent advice. Particularly about the types of scams used by those who do commit crimes. But not one of them is any different than I've heard of in other cities. Like I said above, you surely should be informed, but the hype was so intense that we actually considered whether to even visit Barc and Madrid since we didn't want to invite headaches on what was to be a relaxing vacation. I am not saying there isn't crime. I'm just saying it didn't appear to be occurring every 10 feet the way people made it out to be.

Malaga, Spain
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4. Re: Pick Pocket Worries Vastly Over Hyped.

kyle:

I totally agree with you. I have been to Barcelona many times and have never had a problem. If you prepare yourself and cannot be pickpocketed, you have no worries. From reading this forum, I think that some people are already hyperventilating because they think they will be victims! Relax!

Palafrugell, Spain
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5. Re: Pick Pocket Worries Vastly Over Hyped.

Good for you - taking precautions does work.

Note though that most pickpockets in Barcelona are sneak thieves - they don't want to be seen - so hands slipping into bags or pockets, picking up a bag that's not properly looked after, picking up a purse or mobile phone off a cafe table while the owner is distracted - easy to avoid if you are careful. These aren't confrontational muggings or robbery like you get in NY or London - quiet streets are safe. It's the busy ones and tight crowds where the pickpockets mainly work.

6. Re: Pick Pocket Worries Vastly Over Hyped.

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Removed on: 24 April 2013, 01:05
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Morro Bay...
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7. Re: Pick Pocket Worries Vastly Over Hyped.

I so agree with everything this poster has written! We are near the end of two wonderful weeks in Barcelona. I want to add, however, that we are four women (all over 50) and we, too, felt very comfortable walking all over the city, day & night, and never encountered any problems. While I'm sure the pick pocket situation is not over hyped to those who have experienced it, I hope no one lets it deter them from visiting this unusually beautiful city.

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