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Avoid pickpocket at Barcelona

It is always very vexing to get stolen during our holiday, and to feel powerless to not be able to catch the thief but more the feeling of guilty to not pay more attention of our surrounding and of ours belongings.

Barcelona is a great city but like many amazing places, there are thieves who don’t hesitate to steal everything if you are not very careful.

At the end, instead to have a great vacation, you have a very bad experience because without money, what can you do in the city ??? How can you pay the food and accommodation ??? What about the passport ??? You have to go to the police station and to the consulate to report it.

The situation can be worst in a country in which you don’t speak the language because at Barcelona, if you have the bad luck to be in this situation, there are no translator and, generally, the police has very poor level of English.

I remember during a summer, my girlfriend got stolen at the beach and we went to the police to make our declaration. Of course we hadn’t any problem but there was an English woman who tried to explain them that someone stole her car and all her belongings but she didn’t speak spanish, not very easy.

So when you are here, be extremely cautious when:

  • You walk in the downtown like la rambla street, avinguda del portal de l'àngel street, arc de triomf...
  • You take the metro station, all stations around the downtown (catalunya, liceu, jaume 1, drassanes…), sants station and espanya station
  • You are on the beach
  • You are inside a cyber café
  • You are visiting the Barceloneta neighborhood, the Sagrada Familia and Plaza Catalunya areas

When you are around those areas described above, don’t:

  • Put your camera, camcorder, cell phone and/or laptop on table
  • To show that you have a lot of money and any belongings with great value (jewelry…)

Always try:

  • To put your wallet in a secure pocket (not at the back of your pants)
  • To wear the backpack in front and not on the back
  • To handle firmly the camera, camcorder and cell phone
  • To wear the handbag firmly on your shoulder

Even when you are inside places like a cyber café, always have a look on your belongings. For example, if you put your coat on the chair, thieves will stand behind to “dig”. So you need to be very cautious, below some examples I saw.

  • Thieves on scooter or on bike wrench the handbag so you have no time to react. Normally they do it when they see that you wear it in a relax manner.
  • Thieves give flyers for free entrance in a club, bar… but you have to raise very high your hand to take it meanwhile the partner steals you or they are close enough to you to steal you by themselves.
  • Thief trips you up but he catches you before falling and meanwhile saying sorry, he steals you. Stop him before he disappears.
  • Thief introduces to you with a commercial card or a flyer and he will start to talk about football by making some soccer movements then he will seize your hand (don’t let him). While making some mores, his other hand will sleep in your pocket to steal your wallet (if you didn’t stop him before, you have to do it now).
  • Thief waits you to take some cash on ATM, before to be able to take the money, he will come to you by putting a paper in front of your eyes asking you some help meanwhile the other hand takes it.
  • Thieves saying that they are policemen and meanwhile asking your wallet and rummaging through your pockets, they steal you so don't doubt to ask them their police badges and look carefully that they are real.

About the ATM, there are almost always 2 cash points, the street one and the office one. Use the office one because you can lock the door and if there is only the street one, make sure that there are no suspicious persons near to you. The other advantage of the office one is that you can be sure at 99% that the ATM has not been modified by a thief so you will not fall into a cash trapping.

If you are searching by internet to rent a flat from particular to particular, be careful of scammers. They put in their ads a lovely description and nice pictures, asking you some data (personal and bank ones) and to pay first but at the end, you will get nothing except to look for a hotel once you are in Barcelona. Normally, the true owner will ask to make a deposit for the reservation by giving to you his/her own bank data (he/she will never ask yours) and the rest when you are in the city.

To report an event, you can do it:

  • by talking to a policeman in the street
  • by talking to the reception of your hotel because majority of them have a direct connection with the police report form
  • by phone, call this number (+34)902102112 (english available) and after you have 48h to go to the police station to firm your report – more information, check the official webpage.
  • by internet, go to this crime report page (english version available) and after you have 72h to go to the police station to firm your report.

Take note that if you don’t firm it, your denunciation will not be taken in account. Following some phone numbers which can be useful:

  • General information, 010
  • Ambulance, 061
  • Catalan police, 088
  • National police, 091
  • Local police, 092
  • Civil guard, 062
  • EU emergency number, 112
  • Fire department, 080 or 085
  • Hospital, (+34)934546000 or (+34)934183400
  • Emergency dentist, (+34)932274747
  • American Express, (+34)900994426
  • MasterCard, (+34)900371231
  • Visa, (+34)900991124

I also recommend you to read my topic Dangerous areas in Barcelona.