Barcelona is a relatively safe city, most street crime in Barcelona consists of pick pocketing and scams. Barcelona scam stories should just serve to make you beware, as Barcelona is fairly similar to other major European cities in terms of its levels of crime. Like in any other major city you should take normal precautions such as never leaving valuables unattended, not walking home alone in certain areas at night, and being aware of your belongings.
To avoid being pick pocketed you should always be aware of your surroundings and keep an eye out for potential scams that could trick you into loosing your possessions. There are certain situations and locations where you have to be particularly careful; La Rambla is always busy with tourists and there are a lot of distractions, Also in metro stations where there are lots of people, it is normal for people to brush by close to you and you are concentrating on your destination rather than your possessions. But to avoid these situations as much as possible you can just take a few simple precautions and you will be susceptible to a lot less risk:
DON’T LOOK LIKE A TOURIST
Dress appropriately; Barcelona is a city like any other, even though it has a beach the Spanish do not walk around in the street in swim wear so in order not to stand out from the crowd you shouldn’t either.
DON’T HAVE YOUR MAP OUT IN THE STREET
By having a map out you make it very obvious to pickpockets that you don’t know your way around very well, you also have your attention focused on something other than your possessions and you make yourself an easy target. When you’re walking around look like you know where you’re going and if you get a bit lost and need to refer to a map then go into a bar or café and do it there, you’ll be much safer.
DON’T CARRY THINGS YOU DON’T NEED
Don’t carry all of your holiday money around with you, just take what you will need for the day. You also don’t need to have your passport with you at all times. Ii’ss true that in Spain you are required to carry valid photographic ID but a photocopy of your passport or driving licence will do!
CARRY YOUR BAG IN FRONT OF YOU
If you are carrying a backpack and it is behind you, you can’t see or feel very well what is going on behind you which makes your bag a very easy target for pickpockets. It is best to put the bag in front of you on your chest especially whilst you are in busy areas. The same goes for other kinds of bags, if it goes across your body then hang it in front of you (also make sure the strap is thick enough that no one could break it off). And bum-bags do not resolve this problem; they are very easily removed by an experienced pickpocket!
DON’T PUT THINGS IN YOUR POCKETS
Unless your pockets have a zip they are very easy to slip into, and steal the contents. Never carry anything in your back pockets, your wallet/keys/phone could disappear and you wouldn’t even notice until you went to pay for your tapas/get into your hotel room/call home.
KEEP YOUR VALUBLES OUT OF SIGHT
Its simple… the more valuable things that you have that are visible to steal the more likely they are to be stolen! So if you have a camera don’t carry it around your neck or in a huge camera bag that everyone can see, put it somewhere more discreet and if you want to take a photo then use the cord attached to the camera and attach it around your wrist. This also applies for mobile phones, money and music players.
BE AWARE OF SCAMS
You should always be aware of people trying to trick you into giving them something for free when you think you are actually getting something out of it, scams by street entertainers are very popular. Gypsy women will often come close to try to give you flowers and are actually putting their hands into your bag to see what they can find. And if anyone approaches you asking for ID saying they are someone official then ask to see their ID first. Also on La Rambla there are a lot of prostitutes who will hassle you as you walk by, just keep walking, they will often be pickpockets as well as prostitutes and always on the lookout for a gullible tourist.
DON’T PUT YOUR VALUBLES DOWN
When you sit down at café, restaurant or bar don’t hang your bag over the back of your chair or leave it on the floor, it can be easily picket up without you noticing. And certainly don’t take out your camera or phone and leave it sitting on the edge of the table, it leaves a robber with the perfect opportunity to grab and run.
HAVE TRAVEL INSURANCE
You’d think this was a given but you’d be surprised how many people think they can save a few pennies and not get travel insurance because “it won’t happen to them”. It can happen to anyone and you can’t do anything about any of theses things without it. And wouldn’t you kick yourself if you had tried to save £30 on insurance and then your £300 camera got stolen and there was nothing you could do about it.
If you take these simple precautions the hopefully you won’t encounter any problems in Barcelona.