Tips how to avoid and how to outsmart pickpockets.
1Pay close attention to pickpockets on your arrival to Barcelona and be careful at train and bus stations.
Unfortunately too many new Barcelona visitors get pickpocketed even before they even reach their room. Train and bus stations and entrances to hotels are hot spots for pickpockets and thieves. There are simple reasons to it. Arriving tourists carry all their valuable belongings with them. Just arrived tourists are usually also exposed, tired, confused and a bit disoriented in a new place.
Newcomers are usually observed at the bus or train stations and especially in front of the ticket sales offices and machines. After you have paid for your tickets pick pockets will watch where you put your purse or wallet.
Better safe than sorry. Prepare your transfer to your hotel before you arrive in Barcelona. One good tip is buying your airport transfer ticket beforehand. Also remember to keep your tickets and money in separate places. Don’t forget to take out a travel insurance policy.
Precautionary Tip : “To avoid pickpockets attention, remove your luggage tag number after landing.”
2Useful safety tips before you go out
When you have arrived safely into your hotel room it is best to make some precautionary safety preparations.
Before you go out, leave your valuables in your hotel room. For example your laptop, is much safer in your room than with you in a bag on the streets. Don’t leave a camera or tablet in plain view. Tuck your valuable belongings well out of sight. If you want more safety, hide your stuff in the room safety box or at the hotels front desk.
Separate your money. Always make sure your money is kept in at least 2 different areas. If you use more than one credit card, leave the other cards in your room. Keep a copy of the overseas emergency number of the bank credit card which enables you to cancel the card immediately if it gets stolen or lost.
If you are planning a “Wild Night” in Barcelona it is better to emulate the dress code of the local people. If you stand out from the crowd as a tourist, you are in danger to get more attention from the pickpockets.
Precautionary Tip: “Spanish law requires that you have photographic identification with you at all times, although a photocopy of your passport is often seen as enough.”
3Pick pockets and scam merchants often work in groups
Pickpockets just love to hang around in crowded places. They pick up their victims in fully packet bars, shops and streets. Because the local habitants love crowds, you are easily sucked inside them anywhere in Barcelona.
When you enter in a crowded street, hold one hand on your bag, and protect with your other hand your mobile phone or wallet. You can also wear your bag against your chest.
Do not give money to the beggars. If you do, keep some small change in a separate pocket or purse so that the pick pockets can’t detect your “big” money hiding place.
When you finally sit down to a lovely terrace, keep your bag always in front of you or in your lap. If you want to leave your bag on the ground keep it between your feet or attached in your body. When it’s time to pay, don’t count your money in front of everybody.
Watch out for distraction and theft scams. During the daytime you find many theft scam artists in Barcelona. Usually they start with a distraction. Some stranger can come to you and ask for directions. Some can drop money or a golden ring in front of you. Somebody suddenly asks you to give a donation for a charity. In the end, the only thing what these scoundrels really want is to make a distraction so that they can clean you from your money.
Precautionary Tip: “Only carry around as much money as you need for the day.”
4ATM – Danger Zone
If you like to use a money or credit card and if you need to visit an ATM, try to avoid streetside ATM’s. It is easy to find an ATM located inside a bank. Before you tip your pin code, check out that no one is lurking behind you your shoulders. Remember always to hide the number with your hands.
Precautionary Tip: “Set a limit for your card withdraws.”
5Keep your head clear – During the night pickpockets and scoundrels prefer to choose easy victims.
If you really wish to keep your money and belongings safe from pickpockets, watch out for alcohol and other mind-numbing drugs. The abuse of alcohol and or recreational drugs diminishes your ability to absorb the stimuli from the world around your eyes. During the night, drunken tourists are the first victims of Barcelona’s notorious pickpockets and small-time thieves. You can always find long queues at Barcelona Raval police station where confused and drunken tourists are trying to fill out the declaration forms of lost&stolen belongings.
“If you decide to celebrate without any restrictions, avoid street dealers and street prostitutes!”
Brothels have been illegal since 1956, but the majority of brothels are loosely disguised as “whiskerías” or “clubs” and are left to act as normal. After the sunset, street prostitutes and dealers come out to offer their services. Although most street prostitutes are inoffensive, others are really pushy… They come close to your skin trying to find your money by touching your valuable parts. Sometimes they run in groups and it is easy to get surrounded and robbed.
The drug dealers operating on the street corners are also often shady characters. For your own safety, it is better not to get in contact with them.
Precautionary Tip:”Avoid street prostitutes! There are plenty of safe semi-legal clubs specialized in all kinds of sexual pleasure in Barcelona.”