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Barcelona crime warning

I was in Barcelona last week and my iphone was stolen from my small cross-body purse in Plaza de Catalunya. They unzipped the purse and took the phone (luckily not my wallet). Now, I am a seasoned European traveler. I speak four languages and my parents are Spanish (Galicia). I have carried the same purse to various European countries and never had someone try to unzip it (it's a big, long zipper!). But this was my first time in Barcelona and I was astonished at the brazenness of the Barcelona thieves. What astonished me even more was seeing the waiting room at the La Rambla police station, which during a 4-hour period (how long it took to file a police report) contained more than 30 victims of petty crime (locals and tourists alike). People who had had purses stolen, wallets stolen, luggage stolen, backpacks stolen, cameras ripped from their necks, everything under the sun. Their tales of being victimized repeatedly in Barcelona were SCARY. One cab driver in the waiting room told me thieves have reached into his cab (open windows) several times and stolen phones, bags. One time they made off with a customer's suitcase as he was loading the trunk.
Despite this incident I had a great time but I'm not sure I would return. I travel to Europe several times a year and I have no interest in feeling like raw meat next to a pack of lions again! The crime situation in Barcelona is not to be underestimated. I should have put everything in my bra and carried zero bags or anything else. If you are traveling to Barcelona, you have been warned.

Posted by
21170 posts

Your bra is not safe ----- MS,11/18 -- they got my VISA from my bra!!! I never felt a thing!!

Posted by
2177 posts

So sorry you've had such a distasteful experience, glad it didn't totally ruin your overall trip. Unfortunately your experience is not unique, from the actual theft to dealing with the local police. With non-violent and even violent crime on the rise in Barcelona (highest in Spain) I'm afraid this will only get worse.

Consider this - pickpockets in Barcelona face no jail time and minimal fines, even when caught, in one case a pickpocket was caught 87 separate times yet never faced punishment. I'm afraid even if they had apprehended the thief, they would have gotten off with nothing more than a slap on the wrist. I wonder what kind of message does that tell the other pickpockets?

Posted by
6519 posts

The US State Dept recently added another warning level for travel to Barcelona.

Posted by
996 posts

I'm having trouble picturing a small crossbody purse with a big long zipper.

Posted by
4 posts

yes the purse is an oblong shape
zipper goes all the way around the purse 3/4 of the total circumference
and yes i had passcode, facial recognition, the works

Posted by
25592 posts

have you used Find My Phone or Find My iPhone and wiped the data from the phone?

Posted by
4834 posts

I have been to 78 foreign countries and to me Barcelona is the pickpocket capital of Europe, perhaps the World. I always wear my money belt when in Barcelona.

As others have already pointed out, the law doesn't even make it a crime in Barcelona.

Posted by
4 posts

yes i used find my iphone and erased the phone
i am back in the states and its funny to see my phone is still in La Rambla