Pickpockets Love Tourists

Barcelona is a beautiful city and relatively safe. With between 6.8 and 7.2 million tourists on a good year this makes it the world’s fourth most visited tourist destination. However like many tourist destinations this makes it an ideal place for pickpockets and thieves and it’s a problem here.

We hear so many stories of bags and phones and wallets been stolen, and unfortunately some of our guests have fallen victim, even after warnings. When we send out our welcome email we highlight the pickpocket problem, and when they arrive we go over it again. We then know that we have done enough so hopefully they will leave with all their belongings they arrived with.

Pickpockets often work in teams and they can be extremely skilful. You can avoid becoming a victim by taking a few precautions and being aware of the dangers.

1. Take care from the moment you arrive at the airport, the train station and on route to your destination. Keep all your belongings in sight at all times. While you exchange money, buy a bus ticket, or get in or out of a taxi for example, this can be a perfect situation for thieves to take cameras, laptops and similar.

2. While you are out in a restaurant or any public place, remember not to leave cameras, laptops, handbags or any valuables on your table or by your feet  either inside or outside. Take special care not to hang cameras or bags over the backs of chairs.

3. Make sure handbags, briefcases and similar are securely closed and not easy to open. It is wise to wear a bag around your neck and have it hanging in front of you rather than holding it in your hand or hanging it on your shoulder.

4. Gents, don’t keep your wallet in a back pocket. If it is easy for you to reach, it is easy for a pickpocket to reach. A money belt or similar is always a wise option.

5. Watch out for seemingly friendly people who may come up to you in the street for any reason. They use a lot of tricks to distract you and often work in teams.

6. Being an obvious tourist can make you an easy target for thieves. It would be better to look at your map inside a cafeteria rather than in the middle of a crowded street. You will stand out less if you look like you know where you are going.

7. Be careful at the airport, trains, metros and buses. You should be especially careful in crowded areas and at tourist sites: such as Las Ramblas, around the Sagrada Família, near the beaches (Barceloneta and Port Olímpic), in the old town (Gothic quarter, El Born and, specially at Raval quarter)

8. Remember, pickpockets do not have a special appearance: they can be both sex and any age and look just like anyone else. Be alert at all times.

The safety message was brought to you by Ourbnb.com

If you have a problem with pickpockets in your town or city, let your guest know about it. You may save them from falling victim.

Good luck and be safe 😉



'Pickpockets Love Tourists' have 2 comments

  1. October 7, 2012 @ 11:45 am jan

    Warsaw’s trams and trains used to be where most thefts of this type happened/happen but I don’t think the problem is anywhere near the scale described above.

    I suppose I’ve been lucky in this respect on my Barcelona trips but Alicja had her purse stolen in Rome – probably whilst trying on some shoes in a shop ( they know exactly when to pounce ) and I had a large denomination euro note taken out of my back pocket while fumbling about for some tram noney in Lisbon – another moment of slipped concentration.

    In both cases our trips were a long way away from being ruined but the Rome episode put us through a lot of inconvenience – police station, phone calls to card companies, new documents to be issued etc. Our host came ‘into his own’ , when we moved into his old apartment ( above his photographic studio ) he didn’t say much just handed over the keys but when he heard of our difficulty helped us communicate with the nearest police station ( drove us there ) and was generally supportive.

    So vigilance and try to be aware of those moments when you are distracted and most at risk.


  2. October 8, 2012 @ 3:53 pm Fiona

    Hi Jan,

    Thank you so much for your comments and tips. There really is nothing worse when you are looking forward to your holiday somewhere and then for your wallet/ bag or whatever to be stolen when you get there! I have seen it absolutely ruin peoples holidays and they leave with a bad taste in their mouth. Thats not good and its terrible that these crooks get away with it too!



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