Crime appears to be up in Barcelona. Many of the local residents blame the economy and the huge number of foreign immigrants.
It’s affecting people’s behavior. At dinner at a nice restaurant, a friend told me not to leave my bag on the chair next to me. While visiting a friend on her rooftop terrace, we ran downstairs to grab a camera and we locked the rooftop door for the 60 seconds we’d be gone.
The anecdotal evidence I heard (in one day!):
- My friend’s mom had her car tires slashed – while she was driving – and people on mopeds approached on both sides and took her purse from the passenger side.
- Another friend’s condo building has had 3 breakins in the past month through the rooftop patio door.
- A guy I spoke to at the airport had lost his blackberry at a restaurant and his wallet at the entrance to his hotel. (He was not very savvy. He left his blackberry on the restaurant table when he went to the bathroom. He handed his hotel card key to someone standing outside the hotel dressed like a hotel bellhop to help him unlock the exterior door.)
I don’t pretend to know all the causes or even concrete numbers but it makes me sad that crime is growing in the city. While there’s always been pickpockets and robberies from parked cars, I have never heard so many people talking so much about it.