Pickpockets in Barcelona: what to do in case of theft?
Article updated 28 August, 2019.
If your pockets have been picked in Barcelona, you will need to act fast. Here are the steps to take to minimise the damage.
In Barcelona, theft is common. 250 thefts per day are recorded in the metro alone. Tourists are easy targets for pickpockets as their attention is often on other things.
If our anti-pickpocket tips in Barcelona haven’t prevented you from being robbed, here are the steps to take.
How to react while being robbed?
Most of the time you won’t realise that someone is picking your pocket: pickpockets are discreet and efficient, particularly if you are distracted. Generally they avoid confrontation and flee if they are noticed.
- Armed robbery or intimidation are extremely rare. However, if it does happen to you, try to stay calm. Do not put up any resistance and follow the attackers instructions, while trying to memorise their traits and characteristics. You will get out of it frightened but perhaps not hurt.
- If you are unfortunate enough to need medical assistance, dial 112. This is extremely unlikely, as in Barcelona you’re really much more at risk of having your pockets picked.
What to do afterwards?
Once you realise that you’ve been robbed, you may try to catch the person who did it, but it is unlikely that you can catch up with them as pickpockets are generally nimble and fast!
Look in the surrounding bins
The best thing is to stay where you are and look in all the bins close by. This advice may surprise you, and it’s not exactly a glamorous solution but pickpockets generally very quickly get rid of personal effects that are not valuable to them, to avoid attracting attention.
They will keep your phone, your money, your credit cards and valuable items (for example branded sunglasses) and throw away the rest. So it is entirely possible that you will find your ID at the bottom of a nearby bin.
Cancel your bank card
Pickpockets know they have very little time to use your bank card, so it is vital to act quickly. Call your bank or let them know about the theft using their online customer service.
To do this, head to a locutorio, a little place where you can make calls abroad and use the internet. There are lots of them in the Raval, particularly around the Rambla del Raval.
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Contact your phone provider
Also contact your phone operator to let them know of the theft. They will block the phone and temporarily cut the line.
Report it to the police
Head to the police station and file a report (hacer una denuncia in Spanish). The police are used to tourists and you shouldn’t have any problems communicating.
Although it is unlikely that the police will find your belongings, don’t skip this step. Your insurance will need the report to reimburse you.
If you can’t find a police station call the central line 092.
Let your insurance company know
Before you leave remember to carefully read your insurance policy. Insurers often have strict requirements that you will need to know in order to be compensated. For example, some insurers need to be informed in the 24 hours following a theft.
Call your airline
When you go to the police they will give you a report. Some airlines allow you to board with this simple documents but others don’t. They don’t have any legal obligation to do so!
If your documents have been stolen contact the airline to find out if the report is enough for you to travel on. It is possible that they will ask you for a valid travel document from your consulate. In general you need a consular pass, which costs around 25 euros. To obtain this document go to your country’s consulate in Barcelona.
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