Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Plague of the Pickpockets - Part 3

My recent article about pickpockets on produced the following comment from Marc:
Yes, nice observation and I am afraid that you might not be too far off about the "conspiracy" angle. I have been her 6 years, and work and also play music every weekend in the center of Barcelona. I know many business owners here, and the common belief is that yes, city officials and the police are paid off by the "mafias" who control the street criminals to let those crimes occur. They are also paid off to let beer sellers sell their beers and paid-off to let the prostitutes on Las Ramblas, most of whom are just pick-pockets disguised as prostitutes to pick pockets and steal purses. When the "heat" gets too high, city officials call in the friends in the media to play a game of smoke and mirrors with the public, such as the last few weeks of daily articles in La Vanguardia placing most of the blame on the tourist! People wake up: Yes, maybe Madrid is keeping to0 much of your tax money. But your own Catalan politicians have stolen your city and have given it to the mafias. The snake that eats it tail...
 Then there was this from Tom:
I have just returned from one of my regular trips to BCN staying at a friend's flat off Las Ramblas. Walking home by myself down Las Ramblas (sober) at 1am on Friday night I was physically attacked 3 separate times in about 200 metres by "prostitutes". After the 3rd attack (suffering scratches and welts) I had to take refuge in a shop for a few minutes where the shopkeeper just shrugged at my plight. No police about. No one came to help me. It just seemed an accepted part of life on Las Ramblas. I was so distraught by the attacks I was home by 8pm every night for the rest of my stay. It has happened before, but this time was way beyond what I've experienced before. My friend is Spanish and hasn't had a problem. They target me as I look like a typical British tourist but there's not much I can do about that! I'm so incensed by my experience I'm thinking of starting a bout of letter campaigning. No point complaining if I'm not going to do anything about it! Any suggestions of who to write to?
While, I'm glad to know my mind's not playing tricks on me, I'm disgusted nonetheless that this is going on, and would like to hear about ways to put an end to this.

Any ideas anyone?

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