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Pickpocket central? Safety in Spain

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Dear god - first I am worried about thieves taking my passport either in the hotel safe or on my person. Now I'm worried about what I hear is the rampant pickpocketing or worse - cutting off neck pouches/handbags with knifes. I read someone took a turn down a side street in Barcelona and was attacked by three thugs. I think part of the joy of travel is turning down small streets to discover something new, and I hate to think this isn't possible.

I know not to play 3 card monty or take sprigs from gypsies. But what about the other smooth criminals? Will I stop for gas on my drive from Granada to Marbella and be carjacked? Of course no one knows the answer to this, but I'd like to hear from other travelers to Spain if they were accosted in any way and if it was any worse here than in other countries.

I'm a neurotic New Yorker. Forgive me. Thanks for the advice!

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