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Increased Muggings in Barcelona?

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I am planning a trip to barcelona with my children for July of 2020.  In august of 2019 there had been many articles about increase violent muggings against tourist in barcelona culminating in a state department travel advisory.  Since then I have been searching the internet for any updates to the situation, improvements, deterioration's etc and have found none.  Has anyone recently been to barcelona, are there safety concerns other than the usual pickpockets in las ramblas.  Is the situation worse or better than depicted in the spanish newspapers in August.

Edited by Host Bonjour
misleading as to question. added punctuation to clarify content

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We were there for 3 days in mid Sept prior to a cruise.  Absolutely loved Barcelona!!  Will definitely return.

Our group was 3 women and 1 guy, ages 60-70.  (the 3 women had small cross body bags and the guy had a small daypack which he carried instead of wearing it.) 

I hadn't read anything about muggings, just the usual articles about pickpocketing which is prevalent in Barcelona, Rome, and Athens.  We were a little concerned about it beforehand, but once we got there we decided it was a case of  being aware of your surroundings and using a little common sense, just like any other big city.  We always felt safe. But in crowds we held our bags a little closer.

 

Our hotel was 2 blocks from LaRamblas and Placa Catalunya so we walked the area a lot.   Walked Las Ramblas from our hotel down to Placa Reial for dinner twice and never felt unsafe,  even after dark.  Saturday afternoon it was really busy with locals and tourists, so we were mindful of groups of people walking together.  Same with the Market which we visited Friday night and again Saturday noon; jam packed with people so  you're frequently bumped or jostled but again we held our bags a little closer. 

 

So that was our experience.  We averaged 3-4 miles of walking each day. We were certainly in the busy tourist areas but no pickpocketing, no muggings.  And as I said, we all LOVED Barcelona .... a beautiful, clean, walkable city.

 

You might want to look on the Barcelona forum of tripadvisor too which has lots of input from locals and people who visit frequently.

 

Edited by mapleleaves

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We absolutely love Barcelona and plan to return next year on the tail end of a cruise.  This year we were there for most of August with our two daughters and I shared some thoughts about security, transportation, food, etc. in this thread (with more about Barcelona in other threads):

 

https://boards.cruisecritic.com/topic/2694889-barcelona-alexandra-hotel-curio-by-hilton

 

The wording in the State Department's "Safety and Security" > "Crime" subsection for Spain, to include the following, make sense to me, "In particular, Madrid and Barcelona report frequent pickpocketing and theft, as well as occasional violent attacks, some of which have required the victim to seek medical attention."

 

Here is the State Department source page for reference and additional security information:

 

https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/international-travel/International-Travel-Country-Information-Pages/Spain.html#/

 

 

 

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We were in Barcelona in June.  It was absolutely lovely.  We walked or biked all over the city and had no problems.  Las Ramblas was a sea of people, and I can see how it would be easy to be pickpocketed there.  Virtually everywhere else was more normal crowd levels.  We had no problems, including riding the subway, being out late at night, etc.  I have a cross body purse.

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On ‎10‎/‎11‎/‎2019 at 1:20 PM, mapleleaves said:

We were there for 3 days in mid Sept prior to a cruise.  Absolutely loved Barcelona!!  Will definitely return.

Our group was 3 women and 1 guy, ages 60-70.  (the 3 women had small cross body bags and the guy had a small daypack which he carried instead of wearing it.) 

I hadn't read anything about muggings, just the usual articles about pickpocketing which is prevalent in Barcelona, Rome, and Athens.  We were a little concerned about it beforehand, but once we got there we decided it was a case of  being aware of your surroundings and using a little common sense, just like any other big city.  We always felt safe. But in crowds we held our bags a little closer.

 

Our hotel was 2 blocks from LaRamblas and Placa Catalunya so we walked the area a lot.   Walked Las Ramblas from our hotel down to Placa Reial for dinner twice and never felt unsafe,  even after dark.  Saturday afternoon it was really busy with locals and tourists, so we were mindful of groups of people walking together.  Same with the Market which we visited Friday night and again Saturday noon; jam packed with people so  you're frequently bumped or jostled but again we held our bags a little closer. 

 

So that was our experience.  We averaged 3-4 miles of walking each day. We were certainly in the busy tourist areas but no pickpocketing, no muggings.  And as I said, we all LOVED Barcelona .... a beautiful, clean, walkable city.

 

You might want to look on the Barcelona forum of tripadvisor too which has lots of input from locals and people who visit frequently.

 

If you don't mind, please share the hotel you stayed in. We are looking for a hotel next year. Thanks

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6 minutes ago, bettyboop16 said:

If you don't mind, please share the hotel you stayed in. We are looking for a hotel next year. Thanks

 

We stayed at the Hotel Lleo.  Ideal location ....2 blocks from La Ramblas and Pl Catalunya.  It was also convenient for the Aerobus from the airport...disembarked at Pl Universitat and walked 2 blocks to the hotel. ( 20 minute ride, 5.9E).  My aunt arrived from the UK at 10pm and took the aerobus; she found our hotel easily and felt safe walking in the dark. (Locals tend to eat dinner at 9/10pm so the streets are quite busy until midnite.)   There's a small lap pool on the roof, and a sunning area just above that.  B'fast buffet with cold/hot cereals, pastries, yogurt, a potato casserole, eggs, sausage, juice, fruit, coffee, etc .  

 

I reserved 2 of the basic rooms, so no view or balcony. I reserved a yr in advance so it was only 130E per nite, incl b'fast. In the hotel/tripadvisor photos the older basic rooms are the ones with white bedspreads.  Now that I've been to Barcelona and loved it, I'd probably spring for a Superior Room (renovated) with a balcony . 

 

The hotel /room was clean, comfortable bed,  the staff were friendly, and it was well located.  They held our luggage for a few hrs after checkout because we went to see a Casteller performance (don't miss if you get the chance.)  I would most definitely stay at the Hotel Lleo again !  

 

p.s there's a taxi rank right in front of the hotel which was convenient for getting to the ship

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1 hour ago, mapleleaves said:

 

We stayed at the Hotel Lleo.  Ideal location ....2 blocks from La Ramblas and Pl Catalunya.  It was also convenient for the Aerobus from the airport...disembarked at Pl Universitat and walked 2 blocks to the hotel. ( 20 minute ride, 5.9E).  My aunt arrived from the UK at 10pm and took the aerobus; she found our hotel easily and felt safe walking in the dark. (Locals tend to eat dinner at 9/10pm so the streets are quite busy until midnite.)   There's a small lap pool on the roof, and a sunning area just above that.  B'fast buffet with cold/hot cereals, pastries, yogurt, a potato casserole, eggs, sausage, juice, fruit, coffee, etc .  

 

I reserved 2 of the basic rooms, so no view or balcony. I reserved a yr in advance so it was only 130E per nite, incl b'fast. In the hotel/tripadvisor photos the older basic rooms are the ones with white bedspreads.  Now that I've been to Barcelona and loved it, I'd probably spring for a Superior Room (renovated) with a balcony . 

 

The hotel /room was clean, comfortable bed,  the staff were friendly, and it was well located.  They held our luggage for a few hrs after checkout because we went to see a Casteller performance (don't miss if you get the chance.)  I would most definitely stay at the Hotel Lleo again !  

 

p.s there's a taxi rank right in front of the hotel which was convenient for getting to the ship

Thanks for the detailed description. What did you think of area? Was it convenient walking to other popular tourist attractions? Did you feel safe? We are 2 senior ladies touring around Barcelona before our cruise on the Radiance.

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I loved the area!  Close to restaurants, bars, stores, bakeries, Metro.  There are LOTS of hotels nr Pl Catalunya, at all price points, as you will see on whichever search site you use.

We were near La Ramblas, so if we wanted to visit the Boqueria Market or Placa Reial to eat, we could either walk down Las Ramblas with lots of people, or take the small back roads (and alleys) with fewer people.  We felt totally safe either way.  The architecture is beautiful, regardless of which route you choose. We so enjoyed looking at the facades, balconies of bldgs on every street. 

As I said in my first post, we were 3 women and 1 guy, ages 60-70.  We NEVER felt unsafe.  Granted, we held our cross body bags a little closer in crowded places like the Market or walking on Las Ramblas, but that's a common sense thing to do anywhere.   One night when we left dinner at Placa Reial, it was 9/10pm and we walked back roads/alleys until we finally found Las Ramblas.  Lots of people about at that time and again we never felt unsafe.  Many of the back roads are now pedestrian-only roads with stores, restaurants, bars, hotels and apts, so there were always people around.

I don't know what tourist attractions you plan to see so hard to say if it's close..... 

The hotel is close to the Metro which will bring you close to most attractions.

To visit Sagrada Familia we were going to walk 2 blocks to Pl Catalunya then take the Metro, but it was such a nice day and we were enjoying the city so much, we decided to walk.  Afterwards we took a cab back to the hotel, maybe 10E.

 

p.s.  you might start your own thread if you want recommedations for a hotel

 

Edited by mapleleaves
p.s.

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We also totally loved Barcelona and would love to visit it again, we were there 3 years ago and someone from our group had a attempted mugging, mugger was not too smart he tried to mug someone over 6 feet and well over 200 lbs so he threw mugger to the floor . This is a major city and like my favorite New York City you need to be aware of your surroundings. 

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Thank you Mapleleaves for posting about the Hotel Leo with positive feedback and the good area around it.  We will be staying there this next May (never been to Spain before).  I am encouraged about our decision and excited about the trip (staying 2 days pre-cruise in Barcelona).

 

It is a shame that the heading for this thread is so depressing:  Increased Muggings ...  I started not to open the thread, but I am glad that I did.

 

thanks, again

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I decided to use VRBO to book a place for 3 days before my cruise next year.  The place I chose had 168 - 5 star reviews due to location and friendliness of the owner.  I have already seen what they mean by the friendliness of the owner.  He's even going to send a personal driver to the airport to get me from the baggage claim area.  It really has put me at ease being a single female coming into a foreign country to know that this owner has me covered. He even leaves a binder in the apartment of how to get to places and things to do and see and places to eat. Public transit it outside of the front door and it even has a nice private patio on the 6th floor to enjoy.  I wish it was November 2020 already so I could be there!

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We just returned from a transatlantic cruise, and the first port was Barcelona. After visiting La Sagrada Familia, we were walking back. Suddenly we felt something wet being dumped on us. We thought someone from an apartment above did it. A man came to "help" clean us up, and picked my husband's pocket. It just happened so suddenly we were really taken by surprise. Luckily I had on a money belt, but my husband did not want to put his wallet in it. 

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Always always wear a money belt under your clothes.   There are so many scams our hotel gave us a list.  We really like the L’Eixample area or near Catalunya.  We had good luck at the Best Western Dante. 

Edited by bennybear

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On a recent walking tour of Barcelona, our guide warned about pickpockets. The recent trend has been a staged fight, or confrontation of others, to draw attention while a confederate lifts the wallet. Or, bumping as a visitor pulls back from the bike lanes.

 

I like the use a neck safe under my shirt, with a credit card in the outside pocket and the passport and cash in the inner pocket.  A few bills and coins in my front pocket for easy access.

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On ‎10‎/‎22‎/‎2019 at 6:49 PM, mapleleaves said:

I loved the area!  Close to restaurants, bars, stores, bakeries, Metro.  There are LOTS of hotels nr Pl Catalunya, at all price points, as you will see on whichever search site you use.

We were near La Ramblas, so if we wanted to visit the Boqueria Market or Placa Reial to eat, we could either walk down Las Ramblas with lots of people, or take the small back roads (and alleys) with fewer people.  We felt totally safe either way.  The architecture is beautiful, regardless of which route you choose. We so enjoyed looking at the facades, balconies of bldgs on every street. 

As I said in my first post, we were 3 women and 1 guy, ages 60-70.  We NEVER felt unsafe.  Granted, we held our cross body bags a little closer in crowded places like the Market or walking on Las Ramblas, but that's a common sense thing to do anywhere.   One night when we left dinner at Placa Reial, it was 9/10pm and we walked back roads/alleys until we finally found Las Ramblas.  Lots of people about at that time and again we never felt unsafe.  Many of the back roads are now pedestrian-only roads with stores, restaurants, bars, hotels and apts, so there were always people around.

I don't know what tourist attractions you plan to see so hard to say if it's close..... 

The hotel is close to the Metro which will bring you close to most attractions.

To visit Sagrada Familia we were going to walk 2 blocks to Pl Catalunya then take the Metro, but it was such a nice day and we were enjoying the city so much, we decided to walk.  Afterwards we took a cab back to the hotel, maybe 10E.

 

p.s.  you might start your own thread if you want recommedations for a hotel

 

Thanks for the reply. You've been very helpful. I booked Hotel Lleo

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This summer we made our third trip to Barcelona.  We used a money belt and cross body bags with slash proof straps.  I was obviously a tourist with my camera. While we never felt physically unsafe there was stress associated with always being on-guard for our belongings, even with those precautions.

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Barcelona has pickpockets not muggers. 

 

Under Spanish law, if as a pickpocket you steal something worth less than €400 ($440) it’s a misdemeanour (falta), not a crime (delito), and as such carries a penalty of around €50 ($55) if you get caught.

 

Since violent crimes such as muggings have much more significant consequences, then as a criminal why bother? Just pickpocket the tourists!

 

As you might guess the police are not that focused on this low level crime that has a penalty similar to a parking ticket, and so when it is reported they simply hand out stamped forms to claim on your travel insurance.

 

So just carry what you need - a small amount of cash for a coffee, etc, a credit card not a wallet full, and do you really need to carry your passport. And don't put your $1000 iPhone down on the cafe table, because look around and it will be gone.

 

You will be cross when your wallet, camera, phone has vanished, but you won't have been shot or stabbed.

 

And Barcelona is not unique with this pickpocket issue, Rome, Naples, etc, are just as bad.

 

 

Edited by picsa

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We just spent 4 days in Barcelona. Stayed at Hotel Continental on Las Ramblas. No problems at all. There were some peaceful demonstrations in regard to cession from Spain but that was it. I carried my wallet in my front pocket but never felt uncomfortable or in danger. We walked back to the hotel from La Sagrada Familia - a fair walk - and it was fine.

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On 10/22/2019 at 6:16 PM, bettyboop16 said:

Thanks for the detailed description. What did you think of area? Was it convenient walking to other popular tourist attractions? Did you feel safe? We are 2 senior ladies touring around Barcelona before our cruise on the Radiance.

We are currently  in Barcelona. At the Jazz Hotel.  Feel perfectly safe. Take usual  big city precautions.  I bought some cargo pants with  hidden pockets. Cross body bag which I put on under my jacket.  People are lovely and helpful. Especially to those of us who are a bit older.

 

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I was in Barcelona last year and felt completely safe. We stayed close to Pl. Catalunya, just across Hotel Lleo. It's a very nice place, close to La Rambla

 

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