Firstly, I want to say this is not because of your question @blue_hen2014, which is perfectly reasonable if you don't know and have heard/read about it.
Pickpockets in Barcelona: how big is the problem?
Frankly, as a resident in the city, I am beginning to be fed up with scaremongers that without much information perpetuate this supposedly existing "safety threat everywhere in Barcelona". Barcelona is a cosmopolitan city with 1.8 million residents, plus +/- 500,000 daily commuters plus an average of 1 million tourists coming from all over the World in any given month. As in any other major city, crime does exist, thankfully though it's for the most part petty crime rather than a serious one (no guns and mostly no stabbings, no murders). No matter how often we explain statistics or what a typical Barcelonan lifestyle looks like, there are always scaremongers (visitors and locals alike) that go on with this as if we were living in the Far West of the 1800s.
I don't work in tourism -thus I couldn't care less- but it p*** me off those spreading misinformation about something I know -cause I live it daily- it's grossly exaggerated by some people. Is there pickpocketing? yes, I said so earlier. Is it a bigger problem than in other places? Official stats by the Spanish Ministry of the Interior (2021) display a similar number of "hurtos" (small theft) in the three major cities in Spain: Madrid, Valencia and Barcelona, with the latter taking the lead by a small margin. I did not show figures for Rome, London or Paris because more than one would be surprised about the police reporting results in those cities and how close percentages are from one to the next. If you're adamant, visit Eurostats and you'll get all the reported facts (yeah, there'll still be those saying police forces all around manipulate the information provided to look better off... gosh!)
But it is a big problem? again, if you come from a major city, especially if it is a touristy one, I am sure you're "used" to the existence of petty crime, if you come from a smaller city or a town, this might be news to you... so, there's no definitive answer other than learning about facts and applying then your common sense. As I pointed out, at any given time there are an average of 3.3 million people in the city, the stats about small theft is around 70,000 per year... do your math. Is this % a lot to you? what are the chances you are going to be a victim of pickpocketing? do you behave carelessly when visiting a major city full of strangers? By all means, I am not complacent with the existence of pickpocketing in my city nor I am trying to minimize it. In fact, year after year, Barcelonans rank this as one of the top problems in the city and complain about it to the City Hall. But, with facts at hand, one needs to put things into perspective and not blow it up of proportions.
I can perfectly understand that if one has been a victim of pickpocketing, that's probably going to be the highlight of his/her experience visiting the city and the evaluation won't be positive... but one, one hundred or one thousand cases do not compare to the millions that visit every year (or live here!) and don't share the same experience so generalising it's simply painting an inaccurate picture of reality.
Are there no-go 'areas' in Barcelona?
I personally would say no, or better, I'd rephrase this by saying there are areas I probably wouldn't necessarily go if I don't "have" to, as they're more sketchy than others. But ultimately, as a visitor/tourist, there is probably no need to go there anyway because there's nothing "touristy" to see/do.