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globe6Spain Crime and Safety Report- Part I 

Overall Crime and Safety Situation

Spain is considered a safe destination for tourists and business people. Nevertheless, street crime continues to be a concern, most notably in urban areas and those frequented by tourists. With an estimated 1.2 million American tourists visiting Spain each year, Embassy Madrid, Consulate General Barcelona, and the five U.S. consular agencies receive numerous of reports from Americans who are robbed or victimized in a variety of scams.

Palace of Communication, Madrid, Spain

Crime Threats 

Foreigners seem to be the targets of choice for pickpockets and thieves, who operate in hotel lobbies, restaurants, public transit systems, airports, and other areas frequented by tourists.

Common tactics include:

Theft of baggage while visitors check in or out of their hotels, check in at the airport, or while hailing a taxi. Individuals holding maps and asking for directions. While the victim is distracted, an accomplice picks the victim’s pockets or purse, removing cash, credit cards, passports, and other valuables. Individuals dropping coins or keys near the victim, or “inadvertently” spilling something on the victim and offering to clean it up. These actions are simply distractions to allow another thief to pick the victim’s pocket. Some thieves pose as plainclothes police, flashing what appears to be a badge with credentials. The victim is asked to surrender identification to the “police” while an accomplice relieves the victim of his or her valuables. Tourists should consider any stop by a non-uniformed officer suspicious, and a uniformed officer should be sought before submitting to any request for identification or questioning. An individual knocks on a car window and claims that the driver has a flat tire. When the person gets out of the vehicle to check, another thief enters the vehicle and grabs their valuables.  

The highest incidence of street crime is during the local holiday period (late November - early January, August, and Easter/Semana Santa) and the summer tourist season. Credit Card Skimming (a form of high-tech financial fraud) has been an issue. Thieves may attach a reader on top of an ATM to read the magnetic strip on the victim’s charge/ATM card or a waiter may read the card into his own recorder for later use before charging the card for a legitimate purchase. Many restaurants now bring the credit card reader to the patron and swipe the card in front of them as a result of credit card skimming.

Crime Statistics from January through the end of September 2013. Overall crime dropped for all categories of crime except residential burglaries, which rose 3.6%

Overall Road Safety Situation 

Spain has an excellent network of roads and highways. A speed limit of 120 km/h is enforced unless otherwise posted. The Guardia Civil patrols the highways and uses radar and cameras, both fixed and mobile, to enforce the speed limits. Emergency phones are located on the side of the highways at regular intervals. 

Deaths due to motor vehicle accidents have been steadily falling since a high in 1989 of 9,344 fatalities to around 1,500 in 2012. In 2012, Spain had 83,115 vehicular accidents with injuries or deaths. A little over half the accidents were in urban areas (47,690) while the remainder (35,425) were in rural areas. While less than half the accidents in Spain were in rural areas, accidents in rural areas accounted for more than 75% of the fatal accidents (1,177).  

Spain also has an extensive and safe train, bus, subway, and airport transportation system. 

(Source: OSAC 2014)

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