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Barcelona: Is crime as bad as the posts say?

Barcelona: Is crime as bad as the posts say?

Jan 17th, 2008, 09:00 AM
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Barcelona: Is crime as bad as the posts say?

I have two questions for the experts out there...

I'm reading all these posts about how terrible the petty crime in Barcelona is, pickpocketing, bag snatching, even mugging was mentioned. Is it really that bad, someone posted that it's the "worst in europe"? I ask this because everyone told us the same thing about Rome, Naples and Palermo, said the petty personal crime was horrible, but we've never had any issue there. I'm just curious.

My second question is, if it is indeed significantly worse in Barcelona.... what's the best type of women's handbag? A cross body bag or backpack type? Is the bag snatching more "off of the body" or more likely when the bag is set down on a chair at a restaurant? Or is it both? Please don't tell me a fanny pack is best-LOL

I'm not too worried because I think I'm a pretty alert quasi paranoid traveler to begin with, but I also have never been to Barcelona so I'd like to go in as informed as possible.

GiuliaPiraino is offline  
Jan 17th, 2008, 09:10 AM
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I don't know if it's the worst in Europe, but I do know that in all our travels, the only place were we were pickpocketed was in Barcelona. I also know that an elderly friend had to go to hospital there, after being dragged along the street when she couldn't let go of her handbag fast enough.

Tulips is offline  
Jan 17th, 2008, 09:25 AM
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Wow, I'm so sorry for your friend, that sounds awful.
GiuliaPiraino is offline  
Jan 17th, 2008, 09:33 AM
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Fanny pack - never ever anywhere it is a magnet for thieves.
Reisender is offline  
Jan 17th, 2008, 09:43 AM
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Stay alert, keep aware, remember you are in a city. All the usual don'ts - don't walk around with your bag opened, don't put it on the floor in restaurants - why carry one at all, trust your instincts, etc. Been there twice, no problems. Sorry to all those who did, it can happen to anyone anywhere, and it is a hassle.
LoriNY1 is offline  
Jan 17th, 2008, 09:55 AM
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>>>Fanny pack - never ever anywhere it is a magnet for thieves.

Not to mention a magnet for BAD fashion!

Death before fanny pack LOL!
GiuliaPiraino is offline  
Jan 17th, 2008, 09:57 AM
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No it is not worse than Rome or most big cities. I certainly feel much safer there than Naples ( although we had no problem there or Rome...but had lots of warnings).

We were there for a month and had no problem there or any where else in Europe.

I do not understand why people just do not wear a money belt, if ever in doubt, then you NEVER have to worry.

I know very experienced travelers who have had bags snatched in Rome, Paris, Madrid, London, NYC etc. If anyone of them had on a money belt, none would have lost anything of value.

Use common sense like in most cities. If in doubt, wear a money belt for peace of mind and don't go around wearing your best jewelry, but stay low key and aware.

Have fun in Barcelona... it is a beautiful and fun city..don't miss the wonderful Gaudi works of art and fabulous beaches.

Just remember that the vast majority of tourists that go there ( and it is a favored destination for many!) never have a problem there.

WTnow is offline  
Jan 17th, 2008, 09:59 AM
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cruiseluv is offline  
Jan 17th, 2008, 10:09 AM
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That's what I figured. I know it can happen anywhere. I usually don't carry money with me anyway, I would just worry about my camera and my cell phone. So I'm understanding it's like any other place, no more no less, just keep your wits about you. That's great news. From all the other posts it seemed like we'd be walking into a war zone-LOL
GiuliaPiraino is offline  
Jan 17th, 2008, 10:13 AM
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We were in Barcelona for 7 nights in September during an annual festival. My husband uses a money clip that he keeps deep in a pocket and I used a purse across my shoulder.

We were not pickpocketed nor were we drug down the street so someone could get our bags.

That being said, you should always be alert to whatever is going on around you at all times. It's just a good idea in general.

By the way, we loved Barcelona, Sitges, and Monserrat. Absolutely beautiful!
CIB is offline  
Jan 17th, 2008, 10:29 AM
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WTnow is on a world wide year or more trip..and has posted some valuable info for all of us...but this simple, straight forward comment fo hers is "right on"..

>>>don't go around wearing your best jewelry, but stay low key and aware<<<

Good advice for anywhere In the world..and she oughts know. I see so many tourists wearing a "come on" badge in the form of "glittering bling" or ugly fanny pack...Barcelona is a world class city...electrified with energy and colorful history... and a damn shame to miss if all of the warnings have spooked you. Please go..it's a safe as you want to make it. I would gladly trade L.A.s petty crime rate with Barcelona's.

Stu T.
tower is offline  
Jan 17th, 2008, 10:32 AM
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Barcelona is not a "war zone," it's a lovely city that is great fun to visit.

Having said that, though, I did think that the "shady" types were more *visible* at places like Placa Catalunya and along Las Ramblas. Every time I walked through Placa Catalunya there were some young scruffy guys and we did see them approach some people, but who knows what they were up to.

I didn't think Barcelona was any worse than Rome, where I've witnessed two separate pickpocketing/gypsy kid incidents with clueless tourists.

If you keep your wits about you and keep your bags close, you will be fine. Just be extra cautious when walking along Las Ramblas. I saw so many people who were not watching their backpacks very closely when their attention was diverted by the street performs.
cheryllj is offline  
Jan 17th, 2008, 10:34 AM
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Oops - I meant "street performers." Duh.

And to answer your question, I prefer a cross-body bag, but that's my preference. I like having my hands totally free and my bag can't fall off or be snatched easily. That way it's impossible for me to accidentally leave the bag in cabs b/c it's always attached to my body (which a friend of mine did once and that was no fun as we wasted a whole day trying to recover it).

But I don't walk so closely to the street where it can be grabbed by someone whizzing by either.
cheryllj is offline  
Jan 17th, 2008, 10:49 AM
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How much bling is too blingy? Is that a goofy question or what?

Seriously though, in regard to barcelona, should I leave my wedding set at home?

I've gone both ways, when we visited palermo I left it at home, in other cities I've just turned it upside down, and in Bologna last year I just wore it.

So what's the consensus on bling?

GiuliaPiraino is offline  
Jan 17th, 2008, 11:33 AM
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I love Barcelona and would go back again at the drop of a hat (if I weren't so broke). I felt perfectly safe there, but my sister did have her purse snatched by a very slick thief pretending to be a waiter at an outdoor restaurant in la Boqueria.

She says her purse was in her lap, but I think she may be wrong about that. It may have been on the floor beside her chair.

Fortunately she had given me her passport and debit card to put in my money belt, so all she lost was a camera which was in the purse.

Because thieves don't know that I keep nothing important in my purse, I usually don't bother to carry it, and when I do have it, I am very careful with it, because I like my traveling purse and don't want to lose it. In the future, if I do have it, I will loop it around my chair leg.

I also wear it on the shoulder away from the street and pay attention to my surroundings.

But I always always always wear my moneybelt under my clothes.
Pegontheroad is online now  
Jan 17th, 2008, 12:15 PM
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Barcelona is the only place in Europe I've ever been dipped despite knowing it was dodgy. Luckily they only got a leather tobacco pouch which resembled a wallet.
Afterwards I stood on the Ramblas and watched the scams, including a woman's backpack being robbed as she walked along with her partner unknowing.
If in doubt Google "Barcelona scams".
zippo is offline  
Jan 17th, 2008, 02:20 PM
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I love barcelona but yes it is bad. Should not deter anyone to visit this wonderful city, but is good to know to take the necessary measures Although in this time and age when people change where they live as drinking a glass of water thanks to the European Common Market all places share a lot in common.
Graziella5b is offline  
Jan 17th, 2008, 02:34 PM
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>Is crime as bad as the posts say?
logos999 is offline  
Jan 17th, 2008, 05:55 PM
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A few years ago I was totally shocked to see a big banner over a main shopping - pedestrian street of a major city warning people about pickpockets in the area. The city : Amsterdam !
Barcelona is wonderful, we had no problems at all .
danon is online now  
Jan 17th, 2008, 11:46 PM
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Zippo,the same thing happened to my husband in Venice. How many people can say that have their tobacco pouches stolen these days?

Guilia,my husband and I had no problems, but you do need to stay aware and pay attention to your surroundings,especially on the Ramblas. But this is common sense travelling in a large city.

The one thing DH and I kick ourselves is that we ate tapas in a place on the Ramblas - and that was most definitely a crime we could've avoided! As NYers, we pride ourselves in our "street smarts" and awareness of typical ripoffs, and after our considerably overpriced tapas meal, we more more than a little bit humbled.

Go to Barcelona, enjoy yourself. It's a beautiful city, and you should have no problems.

progol is offline  
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