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SeaTeach
May 16th, 2011, 12:10 AM
There are warnings galore about thievery in Barcelona. Is it necessary to remove engagement/wedding bands? Thanks in advance for you help/kindness.

lisiamc
May 16th, 2011, 02:58 AM
These are warnings about pickpockets, rather than muggers. You are very unlikely to be mugged and have your rings taken by force. Occasionally you hear of necklaces being pulled off, and watches slipped off. If you have really large, valuable, eye-catching rings, they might mark you out as a good target who could be carrying lots of cash. In that case, you might leave them at home

caber
May 16th, 2011, 03:21 AM
I never take my wedding ring off but would not go ashore in any port sporting obvious valuable rings or other jewellery. It is just common sense.

I did not feel any more threatened in Barcelona than other ports.

Keith1010
May 16th, 2011, 04:35 AM
You will get a mix of answers here.

In most cities that we now visit by cruise ship we no longer wear any jewelry. I will wear a sports watch and no wedding band and my wife will either wear no jewelry or just plain earrings.

When we first began to do this it was in cities such as Barcelona, Rio, Buenos Aires and Rome but now we've expanded this to all of the ports of call.

Our view is why make yourself a target? If someone sees that you have expensive jewelry on even if they don't try to take that they might be apt to try to pick pocket you.

Again, like most things in life you will not get agreement on this but this is what we do.

Keith

rebeccalouiseagain
May 16th, 2011, 05:45 AM
No they are not going to steal the ring off your finger. They are looking for cash and cameras that they can sell quickly. Since I was robbed I suggest using a disposable camera for the day and not bringing much cash and certainly not your passport. Don't bring a wallet. If you have a purse make sure you have it zippered at all times- I didn't. Just use the purse to carry things like an umbrella and put one credit card and a few Euros in one of the inside zippered pockets. They aren't going to steal the whole purse. That's how they operate. They don't run off- they do it subtley and then when you notice you are in a crowd and you don't know exactly who did it.

John Bull
May 16th, 2011, 06:41 AM
Folk need to keep a sense of perspective about crime in Barca.
Spain is as civilised (or uncivilised ;)) as the US, Barca simply has a bigger problem with pickpockets than most cities in Europe or North America.
Pick-pockets, sneak-thieves. Not violent hoodlums, not grab-and-run.

So usual prudence applies, they are on the look-out for whatever they can steal without the victim knowing about it. Which includes wallets, cameras, cell-phones, or an unguarded bag. But doesn't include wrestling a ring off your finger or yanking a watch off your wrist - they operate in crowded streets such as Las Ramblas, especially around street theatre, any such rumpus would have locals & tourists down on them like a ton of bricks.

Follow the advice of folk on this thread, but don't let it dominate your day.

John Bull

meterman2
May 16th, 2011, 06:54 AM
I would certainly echo John Bull's comment.

Feel secure that if simple common sense is applied, with the same precaution one would take in any city, be it in the Carribean, or New York, or Las Vegas or wherever, you should have no problem in Barcelona.

Barcelona is a world class city as well as one of the most frequently visited destinations on the planet. Have a great time!

baggal
May 16th, 2011, 10:22 AM
These are warnings about pickpockets, rather than muggers. You are very unlikely to be mugged and have your rings taken by force. Occasionally you hear of necklaces being pulled off, and watches slipped off. If you have really large, valuable, eye-catching rings, they might mark you out as a good target who could be carrying lots of cash. In that case, you might leave them at home

I agree. Big diamonds, heavy gold, etc. just call attention to yourself that you may be a good target. If that's the case, I wouldn't even travel with them. Wear some things that are either less flashy or obviously costume.

keltic
May 16th, 2011, 10:25 AM
Millions of people in Barcelona wear wedding rings everyday. No concern.

riffatsea
May 16th, 2011, 10:57 AM
I agree that you do NOT have to leave your wedding ring home!! NOone will bother to try to take jewelry off your finger!! They want easy to get money that they can pick from your pocket or wallet!!

I'mHooked
May 16th, 2011, 10:59 AM
I think when people ask these questions it's because they are going to a certain port, not because they think a certain country/city is bad or more unsafe than their own county or city. I think it is safe to say every county/city has places that are less safe than other places. So if it is that way where I live I can safely assume it is that way when I am in another country. I also know when I am in another county I am an easy mark. Some may be able to get away with it but most locals can pick out the tourists. You are looking at all the beauty you are seeing and become easily distracted. Perfect for the local hoodlum. Besides plain old earings I never wear jewerly off the ship. I never bring a purse. I don't bring a lot of money.

Enjoy your trip. If all goes well we will be there in 2012 :)

KirkNC
May 16th, 2011, 11:37 AM
We have never even considered doing that, if we had to, I would rather not even go. Barcelona is a great place to visit, yes you have to be careful, just like you do in NYC.

Kirk

Hlitner
May 16th, 2011, 12:00 PM
Geez, I think this Barcelona pick-pocket thing has gotten a bit out of hand. Yes, there are too many gypsies working in Barcelona and yes, they will try to pick your pocket or grab your purse if you are careless. It is also not a good idea to wear expensive ear rings, necklaces, or bracelets that can easily be snatched off your person (not to mention making you look like a good target for a thief). But as to wedding rings, it is laughable to think that even a pickpocket is going to try and pull it off your finger (without your knowledge). Forty years of international travel has taught us to take common sense precautions against pickpockets (even in the US) and always be alert as to your surroundings. But, pickpockets are pros and they generally look for the easy target (which is not a ring on your finger).

Hank

chipmaster
May 16th, 2011, 12:15 PM
IMHO, NO! Pickpocketers are opportunistic thieves looking for un-attentive tourists and opportunity to steal from pockets, backpacks, or grab and go. I don't think pulling jewely off you fingers is in the same category. I'd not wear flashy and lough easily taken necklace or such.

Now if you are wearing a 3ct loud diamond that is something else all togather :D

There are warnings galore about thievery in Barcelona. Is it necessary to remove engagement/wedding bands? Thanks in advance for you help/kindness.

Keith1010
May 16th, 2011, 02:30 PM
I really do not think this Barcelona thing has gotten out of hand.

In the last five years my wife and I have taken three full World Cruises and several other cruises. And, all cities are just not created equally.

As I mentioned, earlier we have come to the conclusion that it is just not a good idea to wear jewelry in most ports of call, and certainly not expensive jewelry. To that point, not all jewelry is created equally as well including wedding rings.

Just like the USA there are areas of many cities that have issues and certain cities have more issues than others.

The reality is that certain parts of Barcelona are a big problem and it is not just the Gypsies who are doing the stealing. We love Barcelona as we do Buenos Aires but these are two cities along with other cities such as Naples, Rio and some others that we take even extra precaution with our personal items.

On each and every cruise we have been on there have been many more issues that we have either seen first hand or heard about from other passengers and crew in Barcelona than the typical port of call we have visited.

I say leave the valuables on the ship. Whereas in many ports of call I take a nice SLR camera into port, again there are some cities such as Barcelona where I take a point and shoot camera with me.

While some have said no one will take your ring, that might be the case. But I don't think it is a good idea to draw attention to ones self.

Clearly most of us will stick out as tourists, but we don't need to add to that by wearing jewelry.

I am not overreacting and my wife grew up in New York City and I grew up right outside the city.

To me leaving the jewelry in the safe on the ship is prudent. I don't see anything lost by using the extra caution but I see a lot more gained from it.

I also don't care if thousands don't have the problem.

You know, many people say the same thing about flying in the day of the cruise and not having a problem. I alway say don't do that because the odds will catch up with them and they will have a problem on their hands.

The same goes for using good judgement in port.

Finally, many people ask for advice and we don't even know their physical limitations yet we are giving advice on what they can do in port. My sense is that we should be more conservative in that advice. Better to be cautious particularly when giving others advice who we don't even know. On our last visit to Barcelona we saw first hand someone pull from a man an SLR camera he was holding along with his camera bag. There was no way he could run and try to catch the thieves because of his age.

Anyway, I think caution is a good idea. Nothing is lost leaving the ring on the ship and what is gained is perhaps avoiding a potential theft.

Keith

rebeccalouiseagain
May 16th, 2011, 03:11 PM
Barcelona is full of pickpockets but also remember that there are opportunists there and in cities around the world. Check the price of a cab upfront. Get a quote before you get in. Is it metered or a set price. These are good things to learn in their language because I have been over-charged time and again for taxis and have started becoming very brazen and demanding about the price and how much money I am prepared to pay. If the price is high- I walk away.. then they usually come down in price.

Research the taxis ahead of time because IMO this is the biggest form of thievery in Europe and the US. There are usually set rates from the airport to the port. Know what they are and double check with the driver. I had one driver in Venice tell me that the price was double because it is "Sunday" and that each bag was one Euro. So I had four bags and the three minute ride from the port of Venice to Piazzale Roma was 24 Euros!!! Robbery. Now they have the people mover so do that. Don't do a taxi if you can avoid it and if you do know the rates. The public transportation is sometimes confusing and slow going but it is usually much more cost effective.

SallyUK
May 16th, 2011, 06:40 PM
I go to Barcelona regularly and I have never had a problem. I have seen pickpockets arrested regularly and they almost always seem to be picking on people who have let their guard down.

Its an enjoyable city, its easy to get around, the metro is wonderful and the buses are easy to use. Its just a matter of using common sense.

One thing I do use though is I have a Travelon theft proof cross body bag that I take with me. You can't slide the zips without unfastening them and the body and strap have wires in to stop them being slashed. I don't carry masses of valuables around in it, but I do feel more confident having it. Also, DH has a special SLR camera bag which he can swing round and unload his camera in front of his body so that you aren't ferreting around to get things out. I think that is by LowePro.

John Bull
May 16th, 2011, 07:20 PM
I had one taxi driver in Venice tell me that the price was double because it is "Sunday" and that each bag was one Euro. So I had four bags and the three minute ride from the port of Venice to Piazzale Roma was 24 Euros!!! .

:D And here's me thinking that was just Rome :D
In different cabs there was extra because of luggage, other side of the river, saturday, sunday, Saint Wotsisname's Day, after midnight, before 9am, there's an "r" in the month, etc etc. In a week, never once was it what the meter said. :rolleyes:
But for me the extras were minimal, about the same as a tip. Which needless to say none of them got. ;)
JB

Keith1010
May 16th, 2011, 07:29 PM
As they say, I think we have all been taken for a "ride" in a taxi. Whether that was increasing the fare are literally taking you on the most indirect route. This happens all over the world.

Keith

rebeccalouiseagain
May 16th, 2011, 07:40 PM
Don't want to derail this pickpocket post but I'll tell you a funny story...

We disembarked in Barcelona after a dreamy 14 day TA cruise from Ft. Lauderdale. It was my 40th birthday onboard. My present was the cruise itself and a camera from my father. I was traveling alone with my then 4 year old son. I had read about Barcelona and was vigilant with my bag up until 8PM that night when he was shooting hoops in a video arcade and said "Mommy you do it"... well I stuck my purse between my feet and nervously shot hoops for 30 seconds tops- bye bye change purse and camera!!! I cried all my trip pictures were gone.

Next morning, the taxi is late and we get stuck in traffic. I have only enough Euros to pay for the cab when the hotel rings the driver and says I forgot to turn in my fancy heavy roomkey and if I don't return it they'll have to charge me 100 Euros. So I ask the driver if he can just take it to the hotel on one of his return trips to Las Ramblas. He says that will be another 30 Euros (on top of the cab fare of 30 Euros).

With that... the flood gates opened. I cried and bawled my eyes out over being robbed the night before and only have just a few Euros left to pay for the taxi and now we are going to be late for the flight.....

He said "ok, ok... I'll do it for you!" I paid the fare (30 Euros) and gave him a nice tip (10 Euro) for being a good guy!

Morale to the story... use crying men crumble!

Hlitner
May 16th, 2011, 11:43 PM
A sad tale Rebecca. I can just hear DW telling her good friend (who was in Barcelona for a cruise this past week) to never, ever put your purse down. On our last visit to Barcelona (last year) I personally witnessed a woman (looked like an American) put her purse under her chair at an outdoor cafe on the Ramblas. I turned and said something to DW about this lady being nuts, and as I turned back a young man grabbed her purse and took off. I started after this guy but another man got to him first and grabbed the purse back (this all happened in about 10 seconds). The man then took the purse back to the lady who still was not even aware it had been snatched. DW always wears her purse cross-shoulder when we travel and she uses a very large diaper pin to pin her purse zippers closed (this keeps someone from reaching in the purse).

As one other poster recently said, the big question in Barcelona (and some other European cities) is who are the bigger crooks, the pick pockets or the taxi drivers :)

Hank

Keith1010
May 17th, 2011, 05:46 AM
Rebecca and Hank, the situations with the purses remind me of an experience in Santiago, Chile a few years. My wife an I were sitting outside at a restaurant at a very nice hotel where we were staying and the outside was within a very large area of the property of the hotel. So, it wasn't on the street. Yet, the staff came around and gave each woman a chain lock like you would use on your bicycle for them to lock their purse to a chair. We were told that this was implemented due to robbers who would make off with women's purses. It was actually on that South America trip that we stopped wearing jewelry in port. For that trip I wore an $8.00 Timex Watch I bought on a very good sale. Nowadays, I have gone up in price to around a $30.00 Timex Sports Watch. :D

Keith

rebeccalouiseagain
May 17th, 2011, 08:21 AM
Thanks for the advice. We did conjure our demons and went to Barcelona again. I just brought my room key, a few euros, a disposable camera and a bottle of water and did the HOHO bus. It was great and I didn't worry at all because there was nothing on me that they could get to or that was worth stealing.

TheBestIsYetToCome
May 17th, 2011, 10:52 AM
Thanks for the advice. We did conjure our demons and went to Barcelona again. I just brought my room key, a few euros, a disposable camera and a bottle of water and did the HOHO bus. It was great and I didn't worry at all because there was nothing on me that they could get to or that was worth stealing.

Other than getting to/from a hotel with a neck pouch containing anything of value, this is about all I am inclined to have on me in Barcelona, too. :)

I virtually always wear the same seven pieces of jewelry, at home or away. I may change my earrings and pendant for a pearl set now and then, but that's as creative as I get. The last time I was in Florence, a woman got very close to me as I was sitting in a piazza eating a gelato. She reached out and touched my face, smiled, said something warm and soft in Italian...and then wrapped her fingers around the backs of my earrings.

Fortunately, they are the screw-in type, and she smiled, said something warm and soft in Italian...and walked away. But I was a bit shaken by her attempt to take them, so I took them out for the rest of the trip (and nearly lost them in the cabin safe, but that's another story...)

I am rethinking whether I should travel with my jewelry anymore. Maybe bring a few sets of imposter earrings, pendant, bracelets and rings....and spring for a $30 Timex. :)

6rugrats
May 17th, 2011, 12:19 PM
As one other poster recently said, the big question in Barcelona (and some other European cities) is who are the bigger crooks, the pick pockets or the taxi drivers :)

Hank

I'll vote for the taxi drivers in Istanbul as the biggest crooks.

Keith1010
May 17th, 2011, 03:40 PM
I'll vote for the taxi drivers in Istanbul as the biggest crooks.

Ummm. Don't forget some of the ports in Africa. I know some cases where they took money up front, drove people a few blocks away, and kicked them out of the cab.

Now if you want to spend a day in a cab take one in Mumbai. I remember wanting to go three miles to a particular place. Of course they want to take you for hours to everyone of their friends and relative stores. They don't charge much because they hope you will spend a lot shopping. It took awhile but we finally got a cab to take us where we wanted to go without hours of shopping for us.

Keith

6rugrats
May 17th, 2011, 05:00 PM
I've never been to Africa so can't comment! Am trying to get to India this year, not on a cruise, so I'll keep your comment in mind. Did read someplace that no one gets out of India without being scammed in one way or another.

kazu
May 18th, 2011, 11:41 AM
I always wear my wedding ring anywhere I go (can't get it off :)). I do not wear gold necklaces or that type of thing when i am touring. (this just doesn't apply to Barcelona - it applies to a lot of places)

Nebr.cruiser
May 19th, 2011, 06:40 PM
I don't normally wear my wedding set when touring in ports; it it pretty large with lots of diamonds (Thank you, DH!) and while I think the possibility of it's actually being stolen is practically nil, it could draw unwanted attention. Plus, in some really poor areas, to me it would be in poor taste.

I do wear a (cheap) watch and sometimes some obviously fake costume jewelry, but nothing that is valuable. I also wear a cross the body purse with the least possible in it and keep my hand/arm on it at all times.

So far we've had no trouble at all, Barcelona or where ever, but it pays to be cautious and aware.

rebeccalouiseagain
May 19th, 2011, 09:27 PM
You know what was un-nerving about my experience. I went into a video arcade but apart from my son playing gams and going on the little rides there was maybe one or two other kids playing in there- there were at least 6 or seven adults on the sidelines just watching. So I already had a bad feeling- like what are all these people doing but no children playing. When my camera and purse were lifted- the same adults were standing there. Like they had to have seen what happened but they were just there- not interacting with anyone... no kids. So they were all in on it. They were a gang. I think their child stole it because a little boy was pretending to watch me shoot hoops.. I knew it but my son was pleading with me to play with him so I just did it.. but I knew. So I was kicking myself afterward.

This is the first time I was victimized. The second time was right in my own workplace by a new employee. I took him to court and he paid double fines. Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned. I hunted him down like a dog.

scottbee
May 19th, 2011, 11:08 PM
I'll vote for the taxi drivers in Istanbul as the biggest crooks.

Vegas Taxi drivers are close. I know dozens of people who have been 'tunneled' coming out of McCarran airport (taxi driver heads south from airport, under the runways, rather than toward the strip/downtown)

SuiteTraveler
May 23rd, 2011, 08:28 AM
I had a friend who took $10,000 worth of jewelry on a cruise and she forgot it when she disembarked. She realized it was missing when she got to the airport and called the cruiseline and asked them to retrieve it for her - she had left it in a jewelry organizer on one of the hooks inside the wardrobe door. Of course, she never saw it again. They claimed they sent security to her stateroom (and this was only 45 minutes after she disembarked) but nothing was there. (Of course.)

I have friends who had to abandon ship between Rome and Sardinia and lost everything but their nightclothes, credit card and passports - they were on a freighter which caught fire. They had to abandon ship so quickly that they didn't even have time to get dressed and their watches, clothes, cash and souveniers all went down with the ship. Fortunately, no one lost their lives and the crew did make sure that my friends got into a lifeboat. Things can get stolen, forgotten or lost or there may be some completely unforeseen accident. It's just not worth it to me to have to worry about stuff that I care about. So I leave all jewelry that is important to me in a bank vault back home and travel worry free with only stuff I don't care about.