Posted by: links on Apr 7, 2012
I’m sure that if any of you tells your friends or families that you are coming to Barcelona, the first thing they say is: “Oh, how wonderful!” And second thing they say right after that is: “Well, but be careful, everybody gets robbed there!” Both things are true. Even though Barcelona is a beautiful unique city it simply cannot deal with the fact that the growing business of pickpockets or in Spanish “carteristas” becomes a part of your vacation whether you want to or not. Carteristas in Barcelona are living their life and tourists are their main focus, especially when standing on Rambla with a city map, or lying down on the beach with your camera, you cannot be less obvious.
Here are some examples on how you can get robbed: In a crowded subway, for example, it's normal for strangers to press against you, so you don't notice something pressing against your pocket or purse. Usually, pickpockets carry jackets or newspapers to cover their hands.
The same approach works in less crowded areas as well. A pickpocket team might casually sandwich you between them in order to press against your body. In a standard scheme, the "stall" suddenly stops in front of the person so that the person bumps into her. The "pick" pretends to accidentally bump into the mark from behind and graciously apologizes while removing the mark's wallet. It might seem strange that the stall suddenly stopped, but the pick seems completely innocent, so the person doesn't notice she or he's been robbed. It's difficult to spot every pickpocket; no matter how careful you are, because pickpockets generally camouflage themselves. They're very careful not to fit the common conception of criminals.
Many dress like wealthy businessmen and women; others carry babies, who they use to hide what their hands are doing. Some even mimic tourists, their prime targets. The best defence against pickpockets is to make it hard to get to your valuables. It's not a good idea to carry your wallet in your back pocket, because it's fairly easy for a pickpocket to sneak up behind you. Front pockets are safer, but the best option is a money belt under your clothes. Backpacks and purses are also attractive to pickpockets. If you need to carry a purse, you should hold it under your arm and cover it with your hand. Another good defence is to employ some distraction methods of your own. Carry an easily accessible "dummy" wallet in your pocket or purse so pickpockets never seek out your real wallet. It's also important not to look like a good target.
Pickpockets are drawn to people who look lost, confused or distracted. People who seem sure of themselves and aware of their surroundings are less attractive targets. Remember, most pickpockets are cautious thieves who want to avoid confrontation. Even if they think they could steal something off you, they'll tend to pass you over if you don't look like the safest mark in a crowd. Even if you do take all of these precautions, you could still fall victim to pickpockets. You can minimize the damage if you're prepared. Keep a list of everything you are carrying in you wallet or purse, especially all credit card numbers. This makes it a lot easier to straighten everything out if somebody does steal from you. It's also a good idea to spread out your money, credit cards and identification in different places, so you're less likely to lose it all at once.
What to Do If Someone Picks Your Pocket
If you discover that your credit cards and identification are missing, at home or abroad, act quickly. Call the credit companies and cancel the cards right away. Then, file a report with the police. With your credit cards and identification, a thief could try to steal your identity, which could take years to sort out. Contact the major credit reporting agencies right away so they know that someone might try to establish credit in your name.
Pickpockets can completely ruin a trip to a foreign country if you aren't prepared. When you lose your identification, you could even get stuck in that country until everything gets sorted out.
To make the process as easy as possible, you should keep photocopies of your credit cards, your passport, and any other forms of identification. Keep copies at your hotel, and leave separate copies with somebody at home. Even if you lose everything, your friend can fax you the information you need. It's also a good idea to prepare a list of emergency numbers and addresses before your trip. Find out where your country's foreign embassy is, and write down the local police station's number. Pickpockets are going to be around for a long time, and there's not much a law enforcement can do about it. But if you're informed and prepared, they'll most likely move on to a better target.