In Spain, you are not going to have any problems with violent crime.  The people of the cities – young children included – live a great part of their lives on the streets socializing and are out at all hours of the night.  Violent crime is practically non-existent.  On the other hand, you may experience petty crimes.  These crimes tend to include the following:

  1. You are having an ice cream with friends and you set your back pack down at your side.  While you are laughing away in conversation, someone manages to walk out unnoticed – with your backpack.
  2. Someone distracts you in a pleasant manner – perhaps stopping you to talk for a moment – while their partner in crime is busy reaching into your backpack to extract your camera.
  3. You are walking down the street totally absorbed in your thoughts and not paying attention to holding your purse or bag securely. You hear the sound of a motor scooter start up and before you can react, two young men speed past and grab your bag from you.

Here are some pieces of advice to avoid being the victim of one of these crimes:

  1. Try to blend in as much as possible.  Foreigners are favorite targets of pickpockets.  The less conspicuous you are, the less attractive they will find you.
  2. Stay alert! Be aware of your surroundings while you are walking aimlessly through the streets.
  3. Do not make a habit of carrying extra credit cards and extra money with you.   The same holds true for your driver’s license, passport, etc.  All you really need when out and about is your school student ID card.  Leave all other cards at your Spanish home where they will be safe.
  4. It is probably better to leave expensive and attention-grabbing jewellery at home.
  5. It is a good idea to carry valuables inside your clothes. Particularly when you are in a crowd, purse and camera straps are easily cut.  Likewise, backpacks can be slit and emptied without you even noticing, and fanny packs can be emptied while you are being distracted by accomplices.
  6. Do not leave your bags unattended.  When you are seated at an outdoor café, it’s a good idea to keep purses, bags, etc. in between your feet in front of you (NOT at your side).
  7. Be on guard if a group of people acts strangely around you. Thieves often work together and try to confuse or distract their target.  Don’t be fooled by appearances.
  8. Do not walk around alone at night.  It is a good idea to always go out at night in groups and return home in groups (or take a taxi, which is cheap).

We are confident that you are not going to have any problems with crime in Spain if you stay alert and use good common sense.  We will go over all these issues in our orientation session at the beginning of the program.

Category: Common Sense

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