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#87173 - 04/27/10 01:07 PM Madrid: Safety Helpful Hints
Jim Costello Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/30/08
Posts: 105
Loc: New York City
These security and safety helpful hints will assist you to enjoy your vacation to Madrid. The helpful hints are from Rich Steves' 2010 book for Madrid.

Theft Alert: Be wary of pickpockets, anywhere, anytime. Areas of particular risk are Puerta del Sol (the central square), El Rastro (the flea market), Gran Via (the paseo zone: Plaza del Callao to Plaza de Espana), the Opera Metro station (or any where on the Metro) bus #27, the airport, and any crowded street. Be alert to the people around you: Someone wearing a heavy jacket in the summer is likely a pickpocket. Lately, Romanian teenagers dress like American teens and work the areas around the three big art museums. Assume a fight or any commotion is a scam to distract people about to become victims of a pickpocket. Wear your money belt. The small streets north of Gran Via are particularly dangerous, even before nightfall.

Tourist Emergency Aid: SATE is a centrally located police office offering emergency aid to victims of theft. Help ranges from canceling stolen credit cards to assistance in reporting a crime (daily 9:00 am to 10:00 pm, near Plaza de Santo Domingo at Calle Legantios 19, 24 hour telephone: 902-102-112, English spoken once you get connected to a person. The Plaza Mayor Tourtist Information office is a kind of SATE office.

Embassies: The US Embassy is at Serrano 75 (telephone 915-872-200); the Canddian Embassy is at Nunez de Balboa 35 (telephone 914-233-250).

I have been visiting Madrid for thirteen years and found the city very safe. Enjoy your vacation.


Edited by MadridMan (04/27/10 05:08 PM)
Edit Reason: to include city location in subject line.
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#87176 - 04/27/10 04:50 PM Re: Madrid: Safety Helpful Hints [Re: Jim Costello]
Jan D Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/04/00
Posts: 157
Loc: Isle of Wight UK
Can't say I've ever felt unsafe in the small streets North of Gran Via...well around Calle de Horteleza and the Chueca area.
The Gran Via is such a long road, I really wish these travel writers would be more precise.
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#87181 - 04/29/10 02:56 AM Re: Madrid: Safety Helpful Hints [Re: Jan D]
PADM Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/30/09
Posts: 46
Loc: Madrid
More precise... Plaza de la Luna and the streets around.

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#87182 - 04/29/10 04:01 AM Re: Madrid: Safety Helpful Hints [Re: PADM]
MadridMan Offline


Executive Member

Registered: 05/06/00
Posts: 10011
Loc: Madrid, Spain (was Columbus, O...
Rick Steves wrote:
Quote:
The small streets north of Gran Via are particularly dangerous, even before nightfall.
I think this is a wild exaggeration. Maybe I'll go there one early evening, pockets empty just in case, to see for myself. Yes, this is an area where a lot of homeless people and prostitutes hang out, probably even some small-scale drug-deals going on, but none of these people generally bother "common folk". Funny about Madrid and Spain in general is that if you're not looking for any of this stuff they tend to leave you alone. But none of this makes the area "particularly dangerous". However, if I'd never been to Spain before, coming from the USA, I'm sure that, yes, my perception would have been "DANGER! DANGER! ILLICIT ACTS ARE TAKING PLACE!" But illicit acts don't equal danger to the passerby.

Saludos, MadridMan
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#87183 - 04/29/10 06:19 AM Re: Madrid: Safety Helpful Hints [Re: MadridMan]
jazz Offline
Executive Member

Registered: 05/28/08
Posts: 434
Loc: Madrid
For me it's more dangerous, go to a bank to request a loan

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#87186 - 04/29/10 03:56 PM Re: Madrid: Safety Helpful Hints [Re: jazz]
pedmar Offline
Executive Member

Registered: 02/26/06
Posts: 2336
Loc: Morbihan, France
for Rich Steeves the whole world is dangerous, he must have a cut from homeland security. I walk those streets for many years and never a problem not even a scratch.

Cant believe in this day of fast open communication people will print such a thing and be believe of. In fact I listen to the US embassy warnings on emails i get from the State dept, I wont be coming out of my house, its all dangerous out there lol!!!
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#87187 - 04/29/10 05:53 PM Re: Madrid: Safety Helpful Hints [Re: pedmar]
laduque Offline
Executive Member

Registered: 10/02/00
Posts: 656
Loc: San Diego, CA, USA
I think Rick Steves writes it more of a disclaimer so as if you do follow his advice and walk around a certain area and you are targeted you don't blame him. I also think that if you are alert and informed you will be less likely to be a target.
Many Americans are so trusting and even when they travel abroad, don't realize they need to be vigilant (especially if you come from a smaller town).

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#87188 - 04/30/10 09:14 AM Re: Madrid: Safety Helpful Hints [Re: laduque]
MadridMan Offline


Executive Member

Registered: 05/06/00
Posts: 10011
Loc: Madrid, Spain (was Columbus, O...
pedmar wrote:
Quote:
for Rich Steeves the whole world is dangerous
I guess, in a way, he does write for and represent the people of the USA with all the good and bad associated with that. As Americans, we're hyper-cautious and anything illegal or on the fringe of legality is something to avoid like the plague.

But what laduque writes is true at the same time, that Americans tend to be very trusting as well. Isn't that the definition of a dichotomy, when someone can be very trusting and very fearful at the same time??

pedmar, I put myself on the US State Department's DO NOT MAIL list because, as you say, if followed their recommended instructions to avoid this area or that or don't do this or whatever, I'd never leave the house. But I guess they have to do it. What if something happens to 1 in a million American tourists without the blanket warning being made? That unlucky tourist would be calling his/her lawyer immediately.

I like to tell my story about reading hundreds of accounts about crime, kidnappings, and muggings in Perú before my 2-week visit there in 2000. I was scared to death in the weeks leading up to the trip. Really, I was super worried! Sure, it didn't help they had hundreds of machine-gun-toting policemen at Lima, Peru airport and the chaos there is there. But after my first 36 hours I realized I had nothing to worry about about and that my fear was unfounded. Nothing bad happened to me during my entire 2 weeks there - if you don't count the altitude sickness in Cusco.

Saludos, MadridMan
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#87189 - 04/30/10 02:28 PM Re: Madrid: Safety Helpful Hints [Re: MadridMan]
admiral44 Offline
Executive Member

Registered: 03/26/06
Posts: 277
Loc: Philadelphia, Aruba DWI
Madridman and all,

You make good points on the Rick Steves and state department mailing list. While in Madrid, old city area, a couple of weeks ago, we did notice plenty of police and some were speaking with people and inspecting some type of documents.

Today, just outside Segovia, there was a roadside checkpoint setup. I thought no big deal because I've seen one most every day since driving out of Madrid. However, this time there were four policemen checking the cars/directing traffic and then two more, one with a shotgun, the other with a tactical machine gun. This got my full attention, but they just waved me on. NOt sure what they're looking for but they are serious about it.

44
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#87190 - 04/30/10 04:50 PM Re: Madrid: Safety Helpful Hints [Re: admiral44]
jazz Offline
Executive Member

Registered: 05/28/08
Posts: 434
Loc: Madrid
is true, there are many police controls.perhaps illegal immigrants, criminals or etarras,... I don´t know???

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