Are Things Improving?

October 16, 2012
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Foto: Chris8800

I took a long walk around Barcelona on Sunday. Two hours, maybe more.

Six months ago I would have seen a few robbery attempts, a few successful robberies, a few guys casing their next target and a few other things to ruffle the feathers.

But not recently.

In fact, it has been weeks if not months since I have seen anything similar to bag snatching or pickpocketing.

Last week I saw two guys who fit the bill, I watched them, then found that within 30 seconds they were in the custody of two plainclothes police.

There are different flavours of police on the ground these days, motorcycle cops, local police, national police and those small little Seats you see the undercover guys driving around in.

Have things improved?

What do the locals think? Please give your feedback below.

UPDATE:

At the time of writing this update (21:08CET on Tuesday, October 16) there are 10 comments below. In addition we’re going to display below a screenshot of six comments from our Facebook group. The consensus is that no, things are not improving.

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13 Responses to Are Things Improving?

  1. Michel on October 16, 2012 at 11:41 am

    They have even changed their seats for some French cars to be less conspicuous. I live in Borne and since that barrio is half tourist, quarter Northern Africa, quarter Latin America I do see the occasional distraught tourist. Talking to cops, but those are the “local” thiefs but for the rest it’s pretty quiet. Maybe they are taking winter time off?

  2. test87 on October 16, 2012 at 11:43 am

    I have seen 2 robbery in the last 3 weeks in the Metro and I don’t use the metro that much…

  3. Luke McEvoy on October 16, 2012 at 11:47 am

    pfffffffffff… seasons over and Olympics took the main players on a big bucks bus-man’s holiday. see you next year pickpockets!

  4. marc on October 16, 2012 at 12:18 pm

    I live in the heart of the Gothic neighborhood and have the same good impression. One of the aims to the new government in the town hall belonged to improve the safety, with an active plan, with more policemen and major efficiency. It seems that it is giving good results and I have seen a great change on the streets. Before I seeing many thefts, of purses and to tourists, and I have to recognize that some time ago that I do not see any more…and more safety is obvious great in the street. I am glad that it is, Barcelona is a great city and it was necessary to improve in this. I celebrate it.

  5. Mariano Slutzky on October 16, 2012 at 1:07 pm

    problably thiefs have changed their “operating area”. I was robbed a few months ago in the central hall of the airport.

  6. Dirk on October 16, 2012 at 2:54 pm

    I use the metro once a month, maybe.. Last sunday morning around 8 am I was waiting for a friend at the entrance of the funicular (metro stop parallel). Three older tourists where figuring out how the card machines work and I saw two Rumanian looking guys (age about 24) waiting for their chance.. They saw me following their moves so they kept on returning to see if I was still there.. When they again left I walked to the elderly tourists and told them that they should watch their belongings and warned them of the two guys that where waiting for them to me distracted and take their chance… They looked at me in surprise as they had not realized they where being watched by the two pickpockets.

    Nothing has changed in Barcelona.. the season is ending, so there are less tourists. Maybe that is why it seems there are less.. I am happy that police is trying harder to catch the thieves, but we all know that they will only do this temporarily until budget for it runs out. Unless the law will change that allows the thieves to be punished harder and longer it will only get worse. Thieving is a way of living, until they believe it is worth the effort they will continue.

  7. david brock on October 16, 2012 at 3:47 pm

    It’s still there alright – still happening ; two visiting couples I know of suffered a gold chain snatch & wheelie-case snatch (laptop and 2 French passports…ouch!) respectively . That said, I have to say that I thought that this summer would be worse than ever. I really think that the redadas from mid May onwards really helped clear some of the really dodgey repeat offenders – certainly in the Santa Caterina area anyway. They’re still there though – and they still have their 2 HQ bars open (St Pere Mitja with Monec & Plaza San August Vell ) but the police presence and increased pressure has helped a lot.
    Also we must applaud the police presence on the beaches this year….. still there are robberies, but much more controlled now & the lateros / masaje brigade were effectively wiped out this summer, which made it a whole lot more relaxed down at Barceloneta.
    There’s always going to be thieves , but with tighter , harder policing at least the word won’t go around that Barcelona is some sort of Mecca for this activity….
    Can’t really comment on the metro, but I don’t use it so much, but I know the train from the airport to P. de Gracia was a disaster around Xmas time last year…. full of thieves. I wonder if that’s got any better??

  8. Paul Shand on October 16, 2012 at 4:30 pm

    I moved in to Mercado Santa Caterina at the beginning of the year and I really expected to see more robberies, I was living up in Hospital Clinic the last 4 years so I don’t really have anything to compare it with. I’m always on the look out though, and I haven’t seen too many dodgy characters at all (granted I live on a large main road and not a backstreet). There was a guy crouched down by a lady drawing a picture of the barbed wire sculpture in Plaza San Miguel, but I warned the lady before they took anything and the guy skulked off to find his next victim. I’ve also had LOTS of visitors this year and touch wood, not one of them have been robbed, though this could be just that I have educated them not to take out any valuables. Lets hope this IS a turning point, and though we still have a long way to go, it would be great if we continue to see improvement. In the end though, I do agree with Dirk, the law needs to change to make sure that it is no longer worth their while.

  9. Gerry on October 16, 2012 at 5:45 pm

    Got robbed somewhere along the Diagonal last Tuesday(6/10/12) by the “bird poo” con.Barcelona has got to get its police force sorted

  10. donato on October 16, 2012 at 6:54 pm

    I’m living in Borne since a while and I know these guys that go for robbery. They are still all around. They don’t work but they have to live. So… Just waiting the right moment.

  11. steven on November 8, 2012 at 5:01 pm

    Hang out on Portal Nou in El Borne for a few hours and you’ll see at least a few robberies – mostly chains or bags being snatched (i.e. pulled off with force) off older men and women. The set up is always the same, they grab it around the top of the street and disappear up a small alley directly across from Lolita Bakery.

  12. [...] Since the article above was written, a noticeable peace has descended in the district – impacting local Moroccan activity as well – and we wrote about that here. [...]

  13. jj on January 30, 2013 at 1:51 pm

    working in an irish bar we have at least 5 robbery attempts every week ,all year round on average . on the metro which i use every night i see 2 to 3 robberies every week . on the streets of barcelona i see robberies on a day to day basis, so have things improved? no. it is a disgrace, i caught one good looking female thief recently who i have on camera robbing 2 bags on different occasions. i called the police, i went in to get my documentation and when i came back out of the pub i found the 4 mossos flirting with the thief, she had robbed a bag with a value of more than €1000 . i waited until she stepped out of the pub onto the street before i grabbed her . the police let her go and i told them that the catalan customer wanted to press charges and the police replied, well you got the bag back, didnt you . end of story . justice?

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