Last year I wrote Practical Safety Tips in Spain (Part 1). Let’s go for “Part 2”… at last
WELCOME TO SPAIN
I really don’t think Spain is very unsafe. However, if you don’t follow a few basic concepts on personal safety, through common sense and advice like the tips I’m about to give you, I’m sure you will get mugged more than once.
Low class thieves know that very little will happen to them if they steal little money.
Also, stealing with or without violence make a difference towards a court sentence.
Therefore, my suggestion is to ignore whether the Spanish law is too permissive or not with this type of crimes.
Instead, protect yourself. Rely on your own ability to prevent or reduce the chance of being robbed.
(It could happen to you if you don’t look around)
You need some good advice, and that’s what I’m here for! Let’s move on…
CHANGE YOUR MIND RIGHT NOW
You may do this in your country:
• Leave your car’s windows open at the supermarket car park.
• Have a nice conversation with your friends, or relatives, while drinking something at a bar or restaurant, having wallets, mobiles, tablet, sunglasses and purses on the table, or any other visible places; as a common practice.
• Leave your home doors and windows unlooked (or widely open) while you watch TV, use the computer or even go away for a while.
(Thieves don’t look this way in Spain)
That’s a NO-NO (capital letters) in Spain.
Change that attitude right now while you’re here. You can always return to your daily habits once you’re back home.
Remember, in Spain, actions like those I just described are for thieves what honey is for bees.
YOU ARE MORE VULNERABLE THAN THE SPANIARDS
If you are not Spanish, you may look different. And looking different usually means: foreigner. And thieves have radars that detect foreigners 10 miles away… guaranteed!
Spain is not a racist country. Being foreigner is not a problem here. The Spaniards usually embrace people from other nationalities, and are comfortable with.
(I’m afraid this will never work in Spain)
There are two essential reasons why you are more vulnerable to get mugged than the Spanish locals.
1. You might not speak Spanish. In this case, your reaction time will be slower. Thieves are aware of that. By the time you make yourself understood your stolen items will be already sold in the black market.
2. You might not know the area unless you’re a resident. I’m never familiar with the new country I’m visiting. That means: “David is a delicious potential foreigner victim” while there. If I am mugged, how long is it going to take me finding the nearest police station? (Read the article I wrote for Abaco Advisers about Making a Police Report in Spain)
Not much can be done with the previous two points, but you can do quite a lot with the following action keys.
PRACTICAL SAFETY TIPS IN SPAIN
This list is just a common-sense number of actions to avoid being robbed… only in Spain? Everywhere!
• Never put your wallet in back pockets
• Don’t carry your bag hanging on your shoulder. Cross it.
• Pay special attention on busy places like markets.
• Other crowded places as bus stops, bars, street shows are also a potential concentration of thieves.
• Don’t leave your purse on the back of chairs in bars, restaurants, etc.
• Don’t leave your mobile, tablet or laptop unattended on tables at bars. You won’t be watching them all the time, and thieves will act right on that distraction.
(Another tip: don’t trust strangers!)
Over the years I’ve learnt that prevention is the key on many aspects in life. Not only on personal safety. Just think about it for a second.
Being robbed has a bit of “coincidence” (you end up in the wrong place at the wrong time) and a bit of “I’m looking forward to it” (distractions and bad safety habits).
It is not my intention through this article that you get obsessed or paranoid with personal safety in Spain. Enjoy your time here. Have fun.
Keep in mind these basic recommendations I give you. They’ll make a difference by reducing the risk.
I’ll be very happy if you can change at least few innocent actions to avoid being robbed out there.
More in “Practical Safety Tips in Spain (Part 3)” 😉
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