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Thanks to everyone who gave great information regarding Arles in France. During our Campervan trip through France and into Spain we (me and Mrs Toonman) intend to visit Barcelona. The problem is I have heard so much negativity regarding crime that I'm wondering is it worth going to Barcelona? I am well travelled and not naive, I have travelled all over the middle east and Europe including some of the more 'dodgy' places. I recently read that if you wear a large camera around your neck in Barcelona the chances of getting mugged are 100% ! I have just read this Linky thing and it has put me off a bit. Anybody been? I'm interested in your comments.
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I love Barcelona. I'm sure there are plenty of people with a horror story, but I've wandered around holding a decent camera and been fine. I did make a wrong turn where a couple of dodgy looking blokes clocked my camera and started to approach me, but I managed to make a quick detour before getting involved. It's a lesson in not straying too far from the busier areas on your own, I guess.
If you intend sticking to the main sites and touristy spits, there are always plenty of other people around with cameras, like any major city. The key is be sensible and keep your wits about you; be subtle about carrying kit, don't leave anything unattended, keep cameras & bags attached to you when sitting at cafes, don't keep your wallet in your back pocket.
Mad. Every third person has a big camera round their neck now. What Steve says, and best to travel in pairs and get the other person to keep an eye open when you are concentrating on photography. Don't miss a fantastic opportunity because of horror stories. I wonder who came up with that statistic... the Madrid Tourist Board??!
Best thing is for Mrs Toonman not to be going around with a hand bag. As there are cyclists that rob people , but that can be said about Rome too.
It's a lovely city & you will enjoy yourselves. I have been there twice. And the 2nd trip I noticed the place much cleaned up in Gothic area.
But then I have been around many places but the only crime against us was when my wife's Gucci watch was taken by a 'begger' in Dublin.
Thanks for the advice.
I've been there, I had my 20D + lenses + obvious camera bag with me, and nothing happened. Of course I was careful, but I didn't avoid any areas I wanted to visit, I did everything I wanted to do, and there was no problem. Don't let rumours put you off. That 100% chance claim is pure nonsense. And I don't think Barcelona is any more dangerous than London or Amsterdam.
I was there last week Adam, and I witnessed one snatch and a further two attempts in one day! I would say just keep yourself alert.
Food for thought Ed!
It's a shame really Adam, I've been to many cities all around the world but never have I been so wary than in Barcelona, that said it's well worth a visit.
Thanks Ed. It's the same with me, I've been all over the place and in some dodgy places too. I just kept hearing stories about it and googled to see what others had experienced and I was a bit suprised. I'll just be alert as to whats going on around me.
I was in Barcelona just three weeks ago - such a great city!
Statistically, I understand it is the pickpocketing capital of the world and in fact, I was chatting to a chap in front of me at check-in on the way home about this as he had been pick-pocketed and he was an officer with Greater Manchester Police - he was more embarrassed about it than angry.
He told me that it is such a problem there that the police have mobile units at all the popular public entertainment locations with pre-printed forms in many languages to enable victims to be processed quickly for insurance purposes.
Having said that, you just need to take the same reasonable care as you would in any city in any country in the world (including the UK). If you're careless with your possessions, you lose them. Just take out only what you need, be careful about flashing cash around or making it obvious where your wallet is etc. and make sure it's not kept in a place that's easily accessible.
I for one can't wait to go back
I've been to Barcelona three times, walking round with a D300 in my hand, for most of the times on my own, and never had any problems. I never felt threatened or wary either. I think in any big city you can get horror stories.
I must say that I spoke to two young Americans in Barcelona who had their camera stolen, but they said that they were lying in a park, eyes closed, with the camera not physically attached to one of them. No mugging, no drive by snatch, just not being careful.
If you look for info on Rome you will get the same stories. Again, no problems for my there either.
As long as you are as careful as you are at home, you should be as safe there as here.
Thanks again everyone.
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