Safety in Madrid. Security advice and rules
Madrid is a generally safe city with a fairly low crime rate. However, as in any other large city, tourists should take special precaution since they are easy targets. The main problems that tourists find in Madrid are small thefts and pickpockets. Visitors should always keep in mind that the pickpockets and thieves have tourists as their main objective.
Pickpockets are particularly abundant in the Metro and the tourist sites. Take special precaution from the time one arrives in Madrid, especially if taking the Metro from the airport to the city center. Their main targets are distracted tourists. The golden rule to keep in mind is to never carry money, a wallet or valuables in easily accessible backpacks, bags or purses. Of course, never leave baggage unattended.
Some of the places in which one should take the most precaution are Puerta del Sol, Plaza de Santa Ana, the Gran Vía and the Plaza Mayor. Also be careful in any other tourist area, el Rastro, the Metro and on buses. Do not trust anyone who approaches trying to sell flowers or anything else, asking a question, or requesting help. Remember that pickpockets usually work in pairs or groups. It is common to have one thief distracting while the other tries to grab the victim’s wallet.
It is also common to have pickpockets at the terraces. Always be sure to not leave one’s wallet and mobile phone on top of the table or in accessible places. Apply this same precaution while going for tapas during the day or at bars, discos and nightclubs.
Some basic safety advice:
- When seated at a coffee shop or at a terrace do not leave belongings unattended, one’s bag on the floor, or the telephone or wallet on top of the table.
- Do not carry easily accessible backpacks or bags.
- Keep money and valuables in inside pockets or in non-accessible places.
- Avoid carrying a lot of money.
- Avoid paying with large bills.
- Keep one’s passport at the hotel, preferably in a strong safe.
- Be especially careful when using ATMs.
- Do not trust any vendors that approach you in the street or anyone that approaches asking for help.
- Do not leave visible objects in one’s car.
- Never leave baggage unattended.