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 you let the media spoil your stay on one of the most beautiful spots in Europe, or even forgo it for fear of being pickpocketed??
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 literally invite pickpockets to help themselves. It is not so difficult to enjoy a nice, carefree vacation without being robbed.
Be careful with valuables: With a few safety precautions you can reduce the risk of pickpocketing.
People are often warned 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 district, vibrant 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't hurt. If you carelessly hang your handbag or jacket with your wallet over the back of a chair in a cafe or restaurant, you shouldn't be surprised if all your cash 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. Those who feel uncomfortable at night should avoid the southern section of the Ramblas as well as dark, deserted alleys.
Metro and bus pose some risks, but they can be avoided. Many pickpockets act in groups; bus stops are popular crime scenes. While tourists look in their wallets for tickets or money, thieves can keep a close eye on where the cash is stored. They then cause confusion and distract their victims while the accomplice takes hold. The locality does the rest: At the bus stop, many people are used to others coming very close to them. The best remedy is a card that allows you to use any means of transport or a few coins in your pocket.
Camouflage and deception
A tourist who does not identify himself as such is particularly safe. If you dress like the locals, you're less likely to be noticed by pickpockets than vacationers strolling around town in shorts. It is better to consult the city map in a cafe instead of being obviously disoriented on the open road. Cameras are kept in a neutral bag. The ideal situation is, of course, 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 needed on the given day. The passport or identity card, on the other hand, must be carried according to Spanish law, so pay particular attention to it.
If something does happen?
A travel insurance, which is also liable in case of theft, can pay off quite well. With some insurance companies, however, the value of the stolen goods must be documented with a receipt. A written report to the local police is also necessary.