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Really Someone Tried to Pickpocket me - 1st time Ever!!

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Newport Beach...
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Really Someone Tried to Pickpocket me - 1st time Ever!!

I have traveled extensively.. and in Barcelona was the 1st time I tried to get pickpocketed. I am a pretty big guy - and never been a target before or maybe am just lucky no one has ever tried.

I was warned by friends in Toledo before arriving in Barcelona of this pickpocketers to be careful. I thought of this as I arrived into the city and moved my money/wallet into a zipped pocket in my convertible travel pants as I came into the train station. I was glad I got the advice I did - it helped prevent the pickpocket.

I was getting on to the metro. It was crowded and some guy was standing in the entrance - and was in my way blocking me and telling me he was lost - and if I knew how to get to such and such. I had no tolerance to this - and just told him I was not from here and told him to get out of my way. It just seemed odd too that someone from Barcelona was telling me he was lost and how to get to such and such - that is what raised the red flag.

Then I felt someone - trying to unzip the zipper to my pants. I looked to my left and saw this older guy - I was like, what's up - what are you trying to do ?? Really??

So I slapped him and threw him out of the train as the doors were closing. He just kinda looked stunned and rolled off and him and the other guy just walked away brisk as the train pulled away.

Then a girl from Germany there - said she has witnessed many pick pockets on the metro. She was no help during the incident but I think she was surprised what has transpired in my incident.

I spent the next 5 days in Barcelona - went everywhere and did everything and yet no other attempts.

I did not worry that much about it after - but was just a bit more careful and thought through what and how I was going to carry things.

So my post is to bring people aware the "set up" - metro entry distraction by one person and the other goes for the pick.

So watch it in the stairs and getting on and off the metro, seems like a place where they work.

NC
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1. Re: Really Someone Tried to Pickpocket me - 1st time Ever!!

Good to know, but it's also good to note that it was an isolated incident on your visit. I've been here for over 2 weeks now, been everywhere, on the metro often, up and down Las Ramblas daily, and have not had or seen any such situations. I have never felt at all uncomfortable, or felt like I was a target. I carry a pack everywhere, as do many other visitors. I've seen several posts by people even questioning whether they should come to Barcelona because of stories about pickpockets. It would be a huge mistake to stay away for that reason. I have no doubt it happens, but based on my experience just normal big city precautions and awareness you would use anywhere are more than sufficient here. Be aware, but come and enjoy, it's an amazing place.

Edited: 6:16 am, May 16, 2013
Girona, Spain
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2. Re: Really Someone Tried to Pickpocket me - 1st time Ever!!

It is diconcerting to see both these posts.

The OP tells us "So watch it in the stairs and getting on and off the metro, seems like a place where they work." as though this were news, when regular posters on these boards having been trumpeting this for ages.

Whereas the second poster replies with the standard complacent mantra from those who don't know much about Barcelona " I have no doubt it happens, but based on my experience just normal big city precautions and awareness you would use anywhere are more than sufficient here...." which leads me to wonder whether either of these had bothered to read up on these boards about rampant Barcelona pickpocketing before their recent/ current visits.

Edited: 9:58 am, May 16, 2013
NC
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3. Re: Really Someone Tried to Pickpocket me - 1st time Ever!!

Yes, I read those posts. What's your definition of "rampant"? I read the same things about Rome before spending 2 weeks there. Never saw or experienced one event. I can only report my experience. It just seems alarmist to me to broadcast "rampant pickpocketing" when I can spend weeks in those places, out on the streets every day for 5-6 hours and not see it once. Maybe I'm just crazy lucky, or admittedly don't peruse shady parts of town after midnight. When I see people so worried by the warnings that they consider changing their trip plans something seems way out of whack.

Edited: 10:40 am, May 16, 2013
Oldham, United...
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for Alvor
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4. Re: Really Someone Tried to Pickpocket me - 1st time Ever!!

I'd read the reports and the comments on here before we went and was just especially careful not to let my bag off my lap in a restaurant, and tucked it under my shoulder on the bus and metro.

Yes, every city has its crime but the reports do seem to pick out Barcelona as being a hotspot.

There's been a TV series on in the UK recently where scams in holday resorts/cities were outlined, and Barcelona featured in one of the episodes.

Thankfully, we didn't experience nor see any pickpocketing during our stay.

Newport Beach...
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5. Re: Really Someone Tried to Pickpocket me - 1st time Ever!!

So as I mentioned ... this is the 1st time in all my years traveling there was an attempt. It was the precautions that prevented me from being pickpocketed. I stated I did not really worry about it again - but still was alert, the chances of it happening twice I think was low. I think I was a target since I was carrying my luggage and backpack. My post was to just let people know where and how I was targeted.

FEMattimoe - I got more advice from my friends who are residents of Toledo - and saw some things on the forum here but really did not read them in depth because I never have ever been a target.

It is also funny for someone to mention that well I guess it happens - but not to me in my experience - which has a travel map where you can count the number of places they have been and count them on your fingers.

So .. to people I would say go about and do Barcelona - watch out out there - as anywere.

Ottawa, Canada
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6. Re: Really Someone Tried to Pickpocket me - 1st time Ever!!

To be fair, Surfcali, just because you don't recall having been targeted doesn't mean you weren't. These are pros, and it is a part of their skill to not be detected. Kinda like an obvious con-man would be no con-man, right?

My time in BCN was without incident, but I did, and always, take precautions. I did witness others (likely) being targeted near Sagrada Familia.

I would not hesitate to return to BCN, or recommend it, but I would also suggest those who go to take active precautions in the form of informing themselves of behaviours/environments to avoid and the use of safe bags and controlled exposure to loss.

Lastly, not sure how you "slapped" the guy, but this was possibly a poor decision as it exposed you to possible criminal investigation, or violent confrontation, hardly something synonymous with a pleasant travel experience (however, I get it, and would likely have done the same, lol).

Cheshire, United...
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7. Re: Really Someone Tried to Pickpocket me - 1st time Ever!!

We have just returned from our first trip to Barcelona and witnessed something similar. Despite this we had an excellent time it just made us more aware of our belongings. It wont put us off visiting again in the future.

tripadvisor.co.uk/ShowTopic-g187497-i44-k649…

Barcelona, Spain
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8. Re: Really Someone Tried to Pickpocket me - 1st time Ever!!

I've been saying it for years on forum: in my experience and that of many of our visitors the metro system is where you need to be most on your guard. All parts thereof, including escalators, platforms, inside the carriages,as mentioned above, I'd add also corridors, ticket machines (someone offers to help you buy a ticket) etc

Avoiding pickpockets is not a question just of not being on shady streets after midnight! Why do women in Barcelona always walk round with bags worn bandolier-style (and hand on your bag inside the metro)?

NC
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9. Re: Really Someone Tried to Pickpocket me - 1st time Ever!!

"It is also funny for someone to mention that well I guess it happens - but not to me in my experience - which has a travel map where you can count the number of places they have been and count them on your fingers."

I've been traveling internationally for 40 years. Those trips are not all registered in my posts on this forum. It's funny to assume you know my history.

It makes perfect sense to advise travelers to be aware, and take precautions to protect their valuables in such a high tourist area as Barcelona, which I also do. It is a very attractive place for predators. Perhaps my experience traveling has made some things second nature so I don't present the appearance of being vulnerable, confused, and naive. The point I was trying to make in my original post is that the feeling of being here is not of being besieged by criminals, or of running a gauntlet of pickpockets. I think the warnings are valuable, but if they create so much fear that people avoid traveling and miss this experience, that would be a shame.

London, United...
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10. Re: Really Someone Tried to Pickpocket me - 1st time Ever!!

When I visited Barcelona within five minutes I had seen someone's bag snatched. Yes they were silly, they put it on a chair next to them in an open air restaurant. On the second day I saw someone have their wallet lifted from their pocket. On the third day someone tried to pickpocket my husband - they were inviting us to a salsa club and did a little salsa around him, but the hands were straight to his back pocket. He is a six foot four triathlete. All was in daylight.

Luckily because of all the information on here we did not have any losses - husband carried nothing, I carried a bag across the body with the flap turned in and containing as little as possible. So thanks to trip advisor for all the info. However it massively put us off the city from day one, and we won't go back, it was miserable to have to be on alert all the time. On the beach there were more hawkers than sunbathers, every time we sat down for a drink there was a busker or beggar. I live in central London so I am used to city living but I advise friends to go elsewhere and avoid Barcelona - sorry but for me it is just not worth the hassle. The standard advice on tripadvisor (about personal safety) is good but you still have to be alert and see others being less lucky. Its really not good enough. Barcelona could easily sort this problem if they wanted to, and be totally fabulous.