Madrid & Barcelona ~ Is Petty Crime Really That Bad?

  1. My husband and I will be in Madrid and Barcelona this September. I'm really excited but lately I've been hearing/reading that the petty crime in Barcelona is really bad. I know they have a very low violent crime rate so I'm not scared for my life but more worried that I won't be able to relax on the streets without being paranoid about being purse-snatched, thieved, etc. I know the basic safety measures (wear your bag across the front, don't carry a map and try not to look like a tourist) but my question is this:

    For those who have been to Madrid/Barcelona, is the petty crime so bad that you shouldn't even bother wearing a purse? Is it worse than say, NYC or Rome? When I was in Rome I saw a girl get purse snatched in a gelato shop but otherwise I was still able to walk around with a purse without feeling too paranoid....

    Thank you in advance for your opinions/advice!
  2. I have been to Barcelona quite a few times and have also heard these tales etc, (got extremely nervous walking down las Ramblas!!) but suffice to say, I followed all the necessary precautions and have never had any bad experiences (touch wood), so I'm not sure how much truth there is in those stories, but at the same time I would take a bit extra care.
  3. I've also been to Madrid and Barcelona. While I've never witnessed anything happen, I would also take the necessary precautions to ensure it doesn't happen. I wouldn't carry any of your nice purses or jewelry with you. I would also recommend a messenger style of bag that you can wear across your chest.

    Have fun.
  4. pickpockets in spain - watch out
  5. Just take the necessary precautions and you should be fine.

    Do not leave your handbag in the car, even if you did your best "hiding"...
    Don't wear prominent and flashy jewelry
    Don't go walking alone at night
    Keep your luggage locked and in a secure place
  6. I just got back from Barcelona... what I can tell you is I could go from one block to the next feeling a little skeptical, but I just held my purse close. I did not experience or see anyone get robbed. The only thing I knew is that many cabbies try to rip you off :amuse: They never expected me, who was speaking English with my friend, to turn around and whip out my spanish!

    Barcelona is HUGE! But make sure you go to Guell Park there- it is soooo pretty!!!
  7. Oh, this is good! I'll need to familiarize myself with the currency and some basic Spanish before I go. This way I can ensure I won't get ripped off either!

    I read that the Castilians are actually pretty upset with the lack of policing regarding the thefts. They are also upset because the snatchers/pick pocketer aren't locals but gypsies?
  8. My friend was *almost* a victim of a purse snatcher in Barcelona. 10 pm at night in a very busy street. He ran across alley to alley and yanked her bag. Luckily she wore it messenger style and it only yanked her down. Don't want to be a fear monger b/c if you are careful - you will be fine. :yes: So be careful !! ( and have a great time!!! :tup:)
  9. I wouldn't be paranoid about it, as long as you take the basic measures like : don't leave your bag out of sight,(preferably on your lap esp. when sitting on terrasses) prefer a messenger type of bag...I've been to Barcelona and Madrid, being a total tourist flashing my camera and no problema. Actually Rome was worst.
    I actually felt much safer in Barcelona Underground than Paris.
    And 1 more thing to know : the languages are different in Madrid it's castilian (castellano = the regular spanish like south america)
    whereas Barcelona it's catalan, and it's VERY different.
    The ppl understand castellano but don't like using it (they are quite patriotic)
    Basically enjoy your trip, bc these 2 cities are fantasticas !!!!
  10. I've been to both, Barcelona once and Madrid a lot. We've never had any problems. Of course, we're always very alert and not get distracted. The first time I went to both places we carried a small backpack, very well closed. In Barcelona when we came to places where people were gathered to watch the street shows (favorite place for snatchers to act) the one without the backpack stood behind the one carrying it.

    Now when we go, to Madrid mostly, we carry what we need in our jeans pocket. I'm a Coach fan so a mini skinny does the trick ($$, cc's, id, photocopy of passport). I usually carry a mini skinny, lipgloss and asthma inhaler. Subways have those small maps available so I keep it in my pocket too. I carry my camera attached to my belt too. I plan subway rides ahead of time so we know where we need to move and when. We also never stop to take handouts or talk to people on the streets. Usually we go in the winter so we have heavy winter coats and gloves, hats....snatchers have no idea where to look!!!

    Barcelona's supposed to have a highre snatching rate, but again, we've never had any probs. Enjoy your trip. Those cities are breathtaking.
  11. We just got back from Madrid & Barcelona in early May. I felt perfectly safe in both cities and never once felt I had to be over protective of my belongings. That being said, I've grown up in Chicago and I have traveled all over and never had issues, I feel that my street smarts are right on. Just like being in any large city, don't be stupid with your stuff! That is the only time I've known people to get stuff stolen off of them or from them.

    None of us going really spoke Spanish and we knew we were getting ripped off by one cabbie in Barcelona, didn't take any in Madrid, but there wasn't really anything we could do to dispute it because how were we to argue with the guy if he seemed to barely speak any English?

    Have a great trip!
  12. I have been to both and had heard the same stories.

    Infact I am going to Barcelona again in 10 days:yahoo: I have never seen a problem but it is good to be aware as it is anywhere and just be careful.

    And have a fab trip!!!:smile:
  13. Thanks ladies, I really appreciate your input. I feel much better! RacheA, you'll have to tell me everything you did! We're still trying to decide what we want to see/do in Barcelona!
  14. I've been in Barcelona many times and i have seen alot of robery's. The last time was 4 weeks ago and there were 3. 'Tru not to act/dress like a tourics and try to speak some catelan people will like it. I was very brave and took an open top Louis Vuitton.
  15. The major works from architect Antonio Gaudi (art nouveau style) : Park Guell, La Sagrada Familia, la casa Battlo, La Pedrera....There is Picasso museum and Miro museum located on Montjuic where there is the stadium for Olympics in 92, and also the "pueblo espanol" a small village replica built in the 20's.
    The beach around Barceloneta is very pretty with nice restaurants on the beach (don't go to Poblenou it's nudists)
    Walking in the city you'll see "Las Ramblas" a large pedestrian avenue, "el barrio gotico" (Gothic quarter with beautiful old buidings), be careful in "El Ravel" (that's where there is the contemporary museum and beautiful street art),visit the covered market.
    Shopping for spanish brands I like the chains Mango and Zara, and also Custo Barcelona, designer bags there is Loewe and Mandarina Duck. Shoes Camper.
    Their -nice- department store is "El Corte Ingles"
    I'll be happy to provide you with some photos if you'd like !
    For Madrid I can't remember much except the "Prado" museum with fantastic work from Goya and Velasquez.
    That tells which city my heart goes to !!