Update #1 On Our “Tell The Mayor” Feature

August 31, 2012
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Foto: L’Agència Catalana de Notícies

Our “Tell The Mayor” feature has proven popular, to the shame of everyone associated with this website.

Some 41 submissions have come through the site between January 18th and June 30th 2012. (There have been 10 since then, so far.)

We have submitted these testimonies to the Mayor’s office and we will now contact the 41 people asking them to inform us if the Mayor responds, so that we may compare the replies issued. It would be nice to think that the replies would be individually tailored to the needs and queries of the victims, but we expect it to be standard boilerplate stuff.

Of the 41, the origins of the victims were:

American: 4
British: 21
Dutch: 4
Estonian: 1
Indian: 2
Irish: 4
Italian: 1
New Zealand: 1
Romanian: 1
Spanish: 1
Swedish: 1

Note that the 41 who submitted information to us provided full names, postal addresses and email addresses. As we promised these people, this information will remain private and has only been shared with the Mayor/Mayor’s Office.

Here are a few anonymous extracts:

-  ”It was the second day of a ten day trip. The police, who were in the square where the thief made his escape, provided zero assist ance despite my description of the events. We left on the next flight out, at a significant cost to me and my friend.”

- “I went , of course, at the Police stat ion located nearby and when the policemen asked me where I was from and I replied “Romania” they said nothing could be done. Do you really believe that if you punish a person that was robbed and happened to be a Romanian, you can punish the Romanians that commit crimes in Spain?”

- “To be robbed is a horrible and traumatic experience not to mention the loss of your money and precious holiday ruined. The worst part was the lack of help and care and the general acceptance that this was just one of these things, like it’s okay, just get over it! It is NOT okay. Do something about it Barcelona!”

- “The bag had been emptied all over the street but the money from the purse, the camera and the phone had all gone.”

- “Suddenly 2 men stopped him and us and asked if he was troubling us we said no he was just showing us a restaurant and then they falshed their police id cards and said that he is a drug peddler and had we bought drugs from him, they did a body search to us and removed our wallets to check for drugs.”

- “Barcelona is a great city but never again will I visit and I will warn all my friends and family to stay clear. What sort of a holiday is it that means you must be on your guard all the time?”

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9 Responses to Update #1 On Our “Tell The Mayor” Feature

  1. Terry Batten on August 31, 2012 at 11:00 am

    “It is NOT okay. Do something about it Barcelona!” – really hits me. we are so used to hearing stories about people being robbed that it no longer has the same impact. it isn’t ok

  2. Dirk on August 31, 2012 at 11:20 am

    The host can’t protect his guests!
    This is a disgrace for the ayuntamiento and police of Barcelona!

  3. Augusto on August 31, 2012 at 8:04 pm

    Like I said before if they’re not doing anything about these crimes they’re probably benefiting from it, the whole policce deparment is probably on the mafias’ payroll. This “tell the mayor” crap won’t do a damn thing to help stop the crime there. I emailed this useless person about my experience in Barcelona last year while vacationing and celebrating there and all I got from him was an email saying how sorry he was. As far as I can tell there was no improvement on how they handle the thievery situation there.

  4. Terry Batten on September 1, 2012 at 12:45 pm

    perhaps we should organise a bombardment of mails from people who live here. This affects us. It affects tourism, so it affects us in the long run. Police in Barcelona already have a bad reputation (though I can vouch that there are some nice ones) – after their bad behaviour at Plaça Catalunya during the Occupy Movement, they need to do something that makes them approachable, not just tourists but to residents as well. Perhaps if we knew the police would take these crimes more seriously, we would also be more helpful when this happens. On the plus side I was heartened to hear that a group of backàckers on the metro were saved by the other people on the wagon. When a group of thieves pushed on and started to surround the travellers, a Catalan shouted (albeit in Catalan) Be careful! “They are going to rob you!” Encouraged, the other passengers not only started to shout warnings, but together chased the thieves off the train.

    • Tess on September 4, 2012 at 11:38 am

      Had a horrible experience twice in one day very traumatic,so bad I was shaking on our return trip back through Barcelona airport.
      We flew in end of July to spend 3 weeks help boost the economy and all that ended up boosting the wealth of the crims.I had my bag snatched off me just outside the airport,thought I was going to be mugged,silly me thought well there are bound to be cameras to catch the event,but no.Cops were useless,disinterested and rude,maybe because they hundreds of others to deal with all similar.
      Its not just being robbed thats the problem .For an international airport there seemed to be no visable security,It took ages to find the police station no one in the terminal to help.God help them if there is ever a major incident.Then couple of hours later car was broken into,I know,Yes service station 2 minutes buying water is all it takes,smash and grab crims drove off at speed in a French reg.car.Advice,security cameras ,parking next to them doesn,t put them off,Nor does the presence of a security guard.Witnesses gave him the license no.he refused to call the police told us to call them.Police in Banyoles were lovely,sympathetic and apologetic.
      Not a good start,We loved our time in Besalu the Catalan people were kind and helpful even though language was a barrier! It,s the “oh what do you expect,that’s Barcelona” such a sad way to think,with that attitude will anything ever change?
      During our 3 weeks we chose to stay in the countryside,I was too nervous to visit Barcelona,maybe should have done,we had nothing else to steal!

  5. Vincent on September 25, 2012 at 3:06 pm

    We are frequent visitors to Barcelona and visited again recently at the end of August. Over the years we have noticed a steady increase in pickpockets and other shady characters hanging around the city centre. This year was no different and even witnessed an attempted purse theft in one of the coffee shops. It is definitely not a pleasure to walk around a world-class city, keeping both hands in your pockets to protect phone and wallet while constantly scanning the crowd for potential threats rather than enjoying the scenery and architecture!

    It is a pity that the city authorities seem to care so little about this problem, especially when tourism should be protected and promoted in this age of austerity. Barcelona is a great city, but we will have to seriously consider before going back there in future as there are other safer cities in Europe.

  6. John on October 23, 2012 at 12:46 am

    We were victims of the tyre-spiking scam, whereby a tyre is punctured by one of the team. The punctured sidewall meant we had to stop within a few hundred yards.

    While we are replacing the wheel, we are distracted by a young man on a scooter, wearing a full-face helmet so he couldn’t be recognised, who was talking in Spanish about “mechanicos”. We were extremely suspicious, but during the few moments we gave him our attention, other unseen members of the team took my wife handbag and my phone and wallet from inside the car.

    It was all done in seconds and we saw no-one.

    We had no cash or credits, but fortunately my wife’s phone and both car keys.

    In the minutes it took to call the police and contact our CardSafe people, several thousand pounds had been spent on the cards – somehow they read the PIN on two of them to withdraw cash, and used others in “unverified” (i.e. signature, not PIN) transactions.

    It took over an hour for the Police to arrive, who were generally sympathetic, but just us to go to the Police station, which took us another hour to find.

    We were there for another 3 hours, got our crime number and a report in Spanish. The police looked tired and fed up with hearing the same story everyday.

    Three weeks later we are still dealing with the fall-out – calls I never made on my phone, identifying all the items for the banks disclaimer statements, insurance claims, replacement cards and PINs, &c.

    We have been to Barcelona twice, and suffered three muggings – fortunately we foiled the first two.

    Clean up your city.
    I will never go there again, and until you clean it up, I will tell all my friends to avoid the whole area.
    Instigate pro-active policing. Turn it round so the thieves think they will be caught; not get away with it.
    Get the police on the stations, the underground and around the Ramblas.
    Check all the scooters (most appear to be stolen) and get out on the autopista to deter the criminals who pose as police to stop and search cars – to steal or extort “fines”.

  7. Barbara Green on October 26, 2012 at 1:45 pm

    I too am now going through the tedious process of filling in endless forms for insurance, new passports etc etc, following our trip to Barcelona in early October. My bag, containing all our documents, camera, phone and remaining money was snatched just outside the airport terminal building as we arrived to board our flight back to the UK. We had a brilliant time in the city but it has left a very nasty taste.
    We are convinced that the taxi driver who dropped us was also in on the theft. We were dropped in a very isolated spot and I felt that we were being followed as we approached the airport.
    There were two police officers on the other side of the road,who of course were looking the wrong way at the time. Two witnesses gave them the car registration details, but the police didn’t seem that interested. We were forced to spend a further two days there waiting for the British consulate office to open on Monday morning. (you would think they might have weekend cover there!).
    I had thought about writing to the Mayor or maybe local press with the same comments as other contributors above.
    I really would love to know, what, if anything, the police do to catch this vermin? Has anyone had any success – or indeed ever had anything returned to them? I mind most about losing my camera!

  8. D Williamson (@damiwi1) on January 27, 2013 at 12:59 am

    My friend had her bag snatched in Barcelona this week, in the bag was the Xmas Present I had bought her. She was with her five year old son. Fortunately they are both safe and have now left Spain.

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