Guestpost by Justin (real name withheld)
I’ve been in Barcelona two years and have been robbed/mugged four times on the street, twice successfully.
On one occasion, though we live in a nice part of town, we were burgled and this while we were in our apartment. The robbers left when they were discovered, without showing a single sign of concern. The police just shrugged their shoulders!
If theft, particularly on the street or on the underground, was an olympic sport Barcelona would be Gold Medal winners. In fact, this city would be in a league of its own…
I heard somewhere that for UK and US citizens, Barcelona is consistently No.1 and No.2 in the world for the number of stolen passports. Could this be true? I mean shouldn’t there be a developing or war-ravaged country that is worse?
I have now twice heard of investors who were in Barcelona looking at possible investment opportunities and were mugged near their hotels. Of course they left without investing in the city. It’s unbelievable that local people don’t understand the severe damage this is doing to the Barcelona and the Catalan economy at a time of acute economic stress.
Plainly the politicians are getting paid off. They must be! Otherwise they are total imbeciles! They claim that the ridiculously stupid laws on theft can’t be changed and that the current crime wave is simply due to the ongoing economic crisis! True, pickpockets exist everywhere but not on this scale. Everyone who travels knows this.
It was no problem to change the law on nudists though – poor old nudists – not my thing, but they are being constantly harrassed these days while the robbers laugh. One could actually argue that Barcelona’s previously liberal view on nudity was a kind of freedom that is now being taken away, while at the same time thousands of thieves are free to wreak the greatest oppression on this city since Franco.
Everyone knows where the robbers are, right down to the buildings they live in. You should see the thieves and some of the stuff they’ve stolen… visit the open air market beside the round-about at Glories… there you can see suitcases full of mobile phones, all manner of stolen cameras and other electronic goods. You can even get a phone you’ve stolen scrubbed of data and re-programmed.
Barcelona has long had a reputation for crime but so did New York City before Rudy Guiliani. I would start with mandatory life prison sentences for anyone holding political office found to be benefitting in any way (be it 10 euro or 10 million euros) from the thieves and go from there… and jamon might fly!