Reports about the high crime rate in Barcelona often unsettle prospective tourists. But how dangerous is it really to spend your vacation in this city? Should one let the media spoil one's stay on one of the most beautiful spots in Europe or even renounce it for fear of pickpocketing??
Basically, the same applies to Barcelona as to any other metropolis in the world: prudent behavior and a few sensible precautions reduce the risk of becoming a victim of theft. If you openly identify yourself as a tourist and possibly leave your valuables unattended, you are literally inviting pickpockets to help themselves. Yet it's not that hard to enjoy a nice, carefree vacation without being pickpocketed.
Be careful with valuables: You can reduce the risk of pickpocketing with a few safety precautions.
People are often warned not to visit Las Ramblas. The main promenade through Barcelona's city center has a reputation for being a stomping ground for pickpockets. Yet a leisurely stroll through the shopping mile pulsating with people and street performers is one of the most enjoyable aspects of a stay in Barcelona. Of course, a certain amount of caution can not hurt. If you hang your handbag or jacket with your wallet carelessly over the back of a chair in a cafe or restaurant, you shouldn't be surprised if your entire cash supply goes missing. Money bags should be carried close to the body, handbags are best in the front, luxurious jewelry and expensive watches are better left in the hotel safe. Who feels uncomfortable at night should avoid the southern section of the Ramblas as well as dark, deserted alleys.
Metro and bus have some risks, but they are to be avoided. Many pickpockets operate in groups; bus stops are popular crime scenes. While tourists search for tickets or money in the wallet, thieves can observe exactly where the cash is stored. Then they cause confusion and distract their victims while the accomplice grabs on. The location adds to this: At the bus stop, many people are used to others coming very close to them. The best remedy is to have a card that allows you to use any means of transportation or to have some coins in your pocket.
Camouflage and deception
A tourist who does not identify himself as such is particularly safe. People who adapt their clothing to the local population are less likely to be noticed by pickpockets than vacationers who stroll through the city in shorts. It is better to consult the city map in a cafe instead of being obviously disoriented on the open street. Cameras are kept in a neutral bag. Of course, it is optimal if no valuables are openly displayed. What is not needed should better be kept in the hotel safe – this also applies to too much cash. It is enough to carry as much as is needed on the day in question. The passport or identity card, on the other hand, must be carried according to Spanish law, so pay special attention to it.
If something does happen?
Travel insurance that also covers you in the event of theft can really pay off. With some insurance companies, however, the value of the stolen goods must be documented with a receipt. Also necessary is the written report to the local police.