Madrid is generally a secure city, and one of Europe's safest capitals in terms of serious crime.
Tourists, however, as in all major cities, are often targeted for petty crimes such as pick-pocketing and bag-snatching. Violent crime against tourists is almost unheard of, and compared to other major capitals Madrid is certainly low on the list of crime statistics. However, it is always much better to be safe than sorry and therefore bags, cameras, wallets, etc. all need to be kept in safe places and the tourist alert and attentive at all times, especially if approached by somebody, whatever the apparent motive.
Petty criminals are very clever in what they do and often work in small groups, one of the group approaching you openly and trying to distract your attention while another of the group you probably won't even see will try to snatch your bag or wallet.
Drink or food may be spilled on your clothes and one of the group offer to help you clean it up while another goes through your belongings, or the tyres on your hire-car may be punctured and the thieves offer to help you change them, taking the opportunity to rob your suitcases. In this case the offer of help should be politely but firmly declined until the police or your car-hire company can be contacted.
The above may sound like scare-mongering, but forewarned is forearmed, and just a little common sense will go a long way to deter any potential thief.
Fortunately, the local authorities are also playing a hand in the deterrence of petty crime, and every summer the autonomous government, in collaboration with the police, city hall and tourist board, put into place a series of measures to help visitors to Spain's capital.
Security is strengthened by more than 3000 police agents on Madrid's streets between the 30th June and the 30th September, especially in areas frequented by tourists such as the
Plaza de Oriente
near the Royal Palace, the
Puerta del Sol and nearby Arenal street, the
Plaza Mayor, the Paseo del Prado (and especially the areas close to the
Reina Sofía museums), the Plaza de Callao and the
Plaza de España.
Mobile assistance points (Oficinas de Atención Móviles) are established in the Puerta del Sol near Carmen street, in the Calle Bailén close to Calle San Quintín, in
Chamartín bus station and at the exit of
Terminal 4 of the airport, among other locations.
Certain hotels are also collaborating with this initiative, and foreigners can make official police reports without having to personally visit the police station, by simply filling out the forms available at these hotels, although the Municipal Police should be advised first (the hotel can do this), in order that the forms may be completed properly.
This is a pilot service for the moment, available in the following hotels:
ABBA Madrid (Avenida de América), ABBA Castilla Plaza, Rafael Atocha, Rafael Ventas, Wellington, Hotel Praga
All the above is put into place to accompany the already established special service for tourists called SATE or
Servicio de Atención al Turista Extranjero (Foreign Tourist Assistance Services - see
PDF brochure in Spanish, English and French here).
If you do run into problems, you should use the service described above, and for which we give the contact
details here ....
FOREIGN TOURIST ASSISTANCE SERVICES
24 Hour Telephone: 902 102 112
- C/ Leganitos, nº 19 (near Plaza de España)
- Opening hours, 9am to 10pm every day.
- Metro: Santo Domingo (line 2), Plaza de España (lines 3 & 10) or Callao (lines 3 & 5)
- Tel: (+34) 91 548 85 37 or 91 548 80 08
Services offered at station:
- help reporting the crime
- psychological attention if required
- cancellation of credit cards and other official documents
- contact with embassies or consulates
- communication with family
- assistance to locate lost items
- tourist information
Please use the
links to the left to find out all you need to know for your visit to Madrid.