Madrid is not a dangerous city, in fact is one of the most secure cities in the world.
It would be much easier to get killed in any city in the USA than in Madrid, and it is extremely rare to find people armed with firearms anywhere in Spain other than the police and some security guards.
The great majority of tourists have trouble free visits to Spain each year.
However in some areas of Madrid, pickpockets (known in Spanish as carteristas) grabbing purses from pedestrians can be a problem.
Purse snatching is not uncommon, and these thieves usually working in groups or pairs have a keen eye on tourists (you won't see them but they see you!).
The Japanese and Asian American communities seem to be one of their favorite victims.
In many cases these crimes are not actually committed by Spaniards, but by illegal immigrants from countries of eastern Europe or northern Africa.
That being said, not all immigrants and foreigners living in Madrid do such things of course.
Some precautions that should be taken into consideration by anyone visiting Madrid:
- Leave your valuables in a hotel safe when going out.
- Try not to behave like a tourist.
- Wear your bag and camera across your chest.
- Put your wallet and anything else of value on your front pockets.
- Keep an eye on your belongings when sitting on a terraza (outdoor cafe), and be aware of anyone approaching (even kids).
- Be careful who you ask to take a picture with your camera (you may not see it again!).
- Try to avoid taking the metro late at night if possible.
City areas in which to take precautions:
- Puerta del Sol.
- Plaza Mayor.
- El Rastro flea market.
- Plaza de España.
- Gran Vía.
- Metro stations in the city center.
- Atocha Train Station.
- Retiro park.
Always keep an eye on your belongings when sitting on a terraza.
What to do if you fall victim of a crime.
Report inmediately 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
Nearest metro station: Santo Domingo (Line 2).
Phones: 91 548 8537 and 91 548 8008
Phone for reporting a crime 24 hours a day: 902 102 112