Robbed in Barcelona spokesperson Rob Daly was recently interviewed by The Times correspondent for Spain, Graham Keeley and this resulted in an article published on Thursday October 6th 2011 entitled “Hitting Back At Barcelona Bagsnatchers.” There was also an accompanying piece by Times journalist Jane Knight entitled “Heaven for tourists and thieves“.
As the Times is using a paywall (boo!) we can’t link-out to the story, but please see below for a screenshot of the article (you can click to enlarge it).
Please note: the article incorrectly assumes that Robbed in Barcelona is an initiative of “a group of Britons”, but otherwise the article is accurate.
Our favourite bits are:
“The expats set up the website www.robbedinbarcelona.com and opened similar accounts on Facebook and Twitter to provide advice on where the gangs operate and the tricks they use. Thousands have used it to find out which places to avoid and to pass on tips and their own stories.”
“One of the website’s founders, who has lived in Barcelona for years and uses the pseudonym Rob Daly, started it after his parents were each robbed on the same day. His mother had her bag snatched and his father his pockets picked. They vowed never to return.”
“Mr Daly says he loves Barcelona but told The Times: ‘We intend to embarrass Barcelona’s local authorities into taking action on pickpocketing.’ ”
Another bit we are particularly proud of is that The Times reported that the respected local newspaper El Periodico speculates that our website is a front for police because of the detail it divulges about crimes and methods. This, of course, is not true.
There was also a special mention for Victor Argelaguet Foret, a contributor to our Facebook group, who speaks with authority on police matters in the area.
A second article regarding The Times coverage of Robbed in Barcelona later appeared on the unofficial Catalan police website WebPolicial.info. They stated: “The report refers to initiatives such as the page made by British expatriates robbedinbarcelona.com, which publicly denounce crimes that have a serious impact on visitors and residents, and where there are tips to avoid becoming victims.”
The Twitter account of WebPolicial later tweeted Barcelona’s Mayor Xavier Trias to inform him about the article’s publication, and Trias tweeted back: “We have a clear commitment to safety and cleanliness, as they are important to tourism.”
Over the course of Thursday the story about the Times story spread across Twitter and the web and we expect there to be much debate about this topic on Friday.
This article is probably our proudest moment in having our voice heard by respected international media; in our quest to inform visitors to Barcelona about the dangers here, and our aim to embarrass local government into taking action on the lax laws which protect the criminals. We need a zero-tolerance New York style approach. The €400 minimum a robber needs to steal before he can be arrested should be eradicated. Who can put a price on the upset a robbery causes?