Like most European cities, Madrid is relatively safe. Here you will find only the police carrying armed weapons and tourists rarely experience any violent crimes. In fact, many U.S. cities are much more dangerous than Madrid. However, pickpocketing is very common and you need to be aware of your surroundings to prevent it. These thieves, which usually work in pairs or groups, are very good at their craft and will have run off with your phone or wallet long before you even notice. Watch this video to see how it happens – 7 ways you are vulnerable to pickpockets – and how to prevent them.
That said, please take these precautions when out:
- Leave your passport at home (make a photocopy of the front page to carry out).
- Don’t carry large sums of cash on you.
- Wear your bag and camera across your chest.
- Put your wallet and anything else of value in your front pockets.
- Keep your belongings in your lap when sitting on a terraza or at the bar/restaurant not on the floor or slung over the back of the chair.
- Be careful who you ask to take a picture with your camera (you may not see it again!).
- Use taxis to get home late at night.
The areas to be on highest alert are:
- El Rastro
- Plaza Mayor
- Puerta del Sol
- Gran Via
- Retiro Park
- On the Metro and at Metro Stations
- Plaza de España
- Atocha Train Station
If you fall victim of pickpockets. Report it immediately to SATE.
What is SATE?
SATE stands for Servicio de Atención al Turista Extranjero (Assistance Service for Foreign Tourists). It is a specialized police team that operates from a police station (comisaría de policía) in the city center, and focuses entirely on assisting foreign tourists who may fall victims of a crime and/or other traumatic situations. SATE operates all year round from 0900 to 2200 hours. Its functions include:
– Assistance on reporting a crime and other administrative and legal formalities.
– Psychological assistance when necessary.
– Cancellation of credit cards and other documentation.
– Help contacting embassies and consulates.
– Assistance reporting lost objects.
– General tourist information.
SATE – Comisaría de Centro
C/ Leganitos nº 19
28004 Madrid, Spain
Nearest metro station: Santo Domingo (Line 2) (Red).
Phones: 91 548 8537 and 91 548 8008
Phone for reporting a crime 24 hours a day: 902 102 112