Returned from a 12 day trip to Barcelona with 12 other people..out of the 12, 3 had attempted pickpockets..they are everywhere..the locals are very upset about it and sometimes try to help..money belt is highly recommended..But it is a wonderful city..so be safe
Many traveler's are not truly aware that this is what these "people" do for a living. They steal. It is in every place in europe I have been. You just need to be aware and wear that money belt. I have wondered though why the authorities do not crack down on this? As you say, it is not just tourists that suffer from this. One thing that is interesting to notice is in the subway or train station you will see a sign saying to be aware of P-Pockets and almost without fail a person reading it will pat the exact spot they keep there wallet!