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Crime Preventative Measures

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nousername

New Member
Prompted by advice on safety found within this forum category.

Here is my list of preventative measures for a safe Camino, any and all of the below items may be relevant. Some of these may be your second nature already. You can decidedly pick your favorite, or add if it’s not there yet.

Don’t drop your pack
Keep your gear, unless you can afford the discomfort without or replacement thereof.
Hiking poles
Ski/Hiking poles that have small tungsten tips. Heard of a guy that had to use them forcefully with great success on an attacker wielding very big knife imminently on a collision course with his limbs.
Distribute your valuables
Don’t keep all your money in the same place. Use different denominations. Only when you absolutely feel compelled to give an attacker any money, locate the least amount stashed. If a trader for instance sees how much money a tourist has the selling price may just double, while the real thieve watch from the shadows.
Whistle
There are a not many tunes that will stop an attacker, therefore get a good mind blowing decibel driven whistle instead.
Peper spray
This is a good addendum to anyone’s pack, so inclined. Some have been tested on bears.
Police
Ask police for their ID, and the number of their station, phone and confirm their existence. They should always be in uniform.
Do not tell strangers you destination
If a stranger does not know where you overnight, planning a crime ahead is somewhat impaired.
Watch the packs during times of absence
When in a group have a singleton keep an eye on the packs/belongings.
Personal Tracker
Some GPS devices has a button for emergencies (SPOT personal tracker)
Walk faster/slower
Best way to get distance between you and ……
Stealth Tenting
An old military trick. When tenting in between towns setup before dark and relocate again after dark.
Pray
Pray that you do not fall prey to the predator, the Priest said to the Pilgrim
Pretend to be in a group
Depending on the direction a stranger approach from, indicate that the rest of the group is just around the corner.

Please do add your own, and have faith.
 

falcon269

no commercial interests
Camino(s) past & future
yes
Good suggestions, Nousername. False pilgrims and large cities are the most dangerous things on the Camino. There is good advice in other threads on albergue safety. I take very little that I cannot afford to lose, and carefully protect the few items that are vital. I met a Dutch bicyclist who had his bike stolen in Logrono. He found it a few hours later, minus all the equipment. From that point he re-equipped from the discard boxes in albergues. He was not happy at his loss, but said that the experience taught him how little he really needed. He only really missed his high-tech jacket!
 

jl

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances('05, '07), Aragonese ('05), del Norte / Primitivo ('09), Via Tolosana (Toulouse '05), Via Podiensis (Le Puy '07), Via Lemovicensis (Troyes '09), VF ('12), Winter Camino ('13/'14) Cammino d'Assisi ('14) Jakobseweg (Leipzig - Paris '15) San Salvador/Norte ('15) Ignaciano ('16) Invierno ('16)
and have faith
I feel compelled to add a comment here. Unless there has been a dramatic change in the Camino since I was last there in 2009, many of the things you have commented on seem to me very un-necessary. I have never felt threatened, as a woman travelling alone, in any way and have only found kindess and helpfullness. I, like others only take what I can afford to loose, and look after what I can't (passport, camera and SD cards etc). This does not mean that I am silly - I am careful at all times, but I have found that if I treat people how I expect to be treated things always work out for the best. Yes, sadly there are instances of theft and even perhaps more serious things, but be assured that I have never - after walking 4,500kms of Camino paths - had anything happen to me, nor to any of my friends and aquaintances along the way. To have the spirit of trust and faith in those you meet along the way is to me far more important than what I could potentially loose. My glass is half full - not half empty.

Cheers, Janet
 

Luka

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Pelgrimspad I, Via Monastica, Via Podiensis, Via de la Plata, Camino Francés, Camino del Norte...
I get the same feeling, Janet. The biggest fear is fear itself. I would prefer to combine common sense with trust. Just that. I don't take precautions like this when I leave my home for groceries or a walk in the park. While crime can be everywhere.
nousername said:
Peper spray
This is a good addendum to anyone’s pack, so inclined. Some have been tested on bears.
Tested on bears? That just makes me sad...
 

scott

Member
Lets clear this pepper spray issue on bears! Pepper spray was originally made to protect yourself from bears in the beginning. Companies made it weaker for humans. That's how we have pepper spray today. It was not tested on bears the way you think!
 

Pattii

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
(2016)
I get the same feeling, Janet. The biggest fear is fear itself. I would prefer to combine common sense with trust. Just that. I don't take precautions like this when I leave my home for groceries or a walk in the park. While crime can be everywhere.

Tested on bears? That just makes me sad...
Why in heavens name would that make you sad. If you have ever run into a hungry bear or a mama bear with cubs or a Canadian Grizzly you should pray you have pepper or bear spay. They are predators...they don't always attack humans but they are known to and quite often. Don't ever think you can outrun a bear or fight one God forbid. I live in Canada. We are told to carry bear spray on trails here because people get attacked and maimed or killed at least a few times a year. Bears are not cuddly little teddys that want to be petted and held. They are vicious if they want the food you have or if they are males on the prowl or as I said a mama bear with cubs.
Having said that I do plan on carrying it in my pack and god help the person who tries to attack me...whistle, bear spray and poles OhMy!
 

Pattii

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
(2016)
You know I am reading some of these threads and thinking about all the people who have been molested or attacked and even missing this year 2015. I think it is wise to remember that the Camino is a pilgrimage only for those who are pilgrims. It is a target area for thieves, muggers and abductors...
 

SYates

Camino Fossil AD 1999
Camino(s) past & future
First: Camino Francés 1999
...
Last: Santiago - Muxia 2019

Now: http://egeria.house/
... I think it is wise to remember that the Camino is a pilgrimage only for those who are pilgrims. It is a target area for thieves, muggers and abductors...
With all due respect, I do disagree. First, compare the amount of crime committed to pilgrims/amongst pilgrims to any other location in most of our home countries. Second, just lets say I am sure you will change your mind after you have actually walked the Camino as first hand experience is always better than reading what others might or might not have lived through.

SY *raising my cup that is flowing over*
 

Pattii

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
(2016)
Perhaps you do disagree; you are entitled. I was never talking about pilgrim to pilgrim. Yes you will get theft and such and a small amount of it does happen. I am talking that this is an open road and the more common it gets...the more people walking the more people will be targeted. It is just the way it is. I realize you have walked it and I have not but I have travelled even in places that are supposedly very safe and have seen terribly things happen. I am not saying they will but I do believe one must be aware that this is not a perfect world and again as the Camino gains popularity both good and bad will come. You can't stop it. Im not trying to be negative...just very aware. I live in an anti gun country. They still manage to get guns. People still get shot. I guess it depends what you consider the limit. One robbery, one attack, one abduction is more than enough to be wary and careful. I don't care where you travel or live... it is what it is... people need to be careful in my opinion no matter if they are on a pilgrimage or not. No I have not walked the Camino. But I have travelled and things happen. It may have not happened to you but they do happen. I am much more inclined to be safe than sorry.
I also want to point out that when you have personally experienced something that you never thought would happen to you...such as being held at gunpoint in your own home, you tend to be much more cynical. This is not to draw attention or to evoke sympathy. It is just fact. I have had this happen to me. 4 big men 8 big guns, husband shot. I wrote about this in another thread. This was in a wee little village as safe as safe can be in Jamaica when I lived there, and it happened. It wasn't Kingston or Mo Bay...it was way up in the mountains in a peaceful town maybe 200 people...no real reason for it to happen. It just did. It had never in history happened there before but it did this time so I guess I speak from my own experience.
I plan on taking precautions and not be caught with my proverbial panties down.
 
A

Anemone del Camino

Guest
Pattii, the problem is that you say "It is a target area for thieves, muggers and abductors..." and it very simply is not. Keep in mind that the Camino is just a day walk, day after day, on roads, in villages, people's farms. It is not remote walking even if there are some more isolated places. Also, the CF is becoming a bit of a conga line (loved how this was coined by somone here just a few days ago). When you say there are robberies, etc. in our inperfect world is true, but that doesn't make the Camino a target area. The streets of Madrid and Barcelona, now, there is a target area for pickpockets!
 
W

whariwharangi

Guest
Peper spray
This is a good addendum to anyone’s pack, so inclined. Some have been tested on bears.
Day 1. Its at the ready on the hip belt. No bears seen.

Day 2. Its in the top of the pack where it can be gotten if there is any hint 0f a bear in the area. No bear scat seen.

Day 3. Its in the bottom of the pack. Saw a squirrel.

Day 4. Used the spray to spice up some food. Yuck. Saw dragons ... probably due to some hallucinogenic ingredient in the pepper.

Day 5. The camp is rife with bear sightings. Some idiot sprayed their tent with bear spray under the impression it worked as a repellent. Someone else stood downwind of the bear and inhaled a lungful. The bear nearly died laughing.

Day 6. Last day. The bear spray was useless weight in the pack.

25 years later ... a bad encounter with a bear. Which was survived by good bear sense and some luck. The bear spray is at home and well past its best before date too.

So no ... bear spray is not a good addendum to anyone's pack.
 
W

whariwharangi

Guest
Stealth Tenting
An old military trick. When tenting in between towns setup before dark and relocate again after dark.
A. Its not an old military trick. Any army training I participated in did not involve the use of tents.

B. Yeah, when I hike I do this all the time. Particularly when there is like one flat spot in a 3 km radius. Particularly on rough ground where you have to stay vigilant to avoid injury during the daytime. Particularly when there are lots of little items to lose in the dark.

Relocate again after dark? Not!

I would however recommend stealth albergueing. Check into one albergue before dark then, after dark, leave and go to the next (oops; full) albergue. Spend the night outside.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

movinmaggie

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2015) Scotland GGW (2017) Primitivo
Janet, so sorry my finger went the wrong way and I mistakenly posted un 'unlike' to your message :>( On the contrary, your message is right on; every word of it. My feeling is that the more fear you project, the more you will draw it to you. Trust in others; they will trust in you. Many thanks.
 

Ekelund

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
The Camino Frances 2005
The Portugese Camino 2014
The Camino Ingles Easter 2015
The Camino Ingles April 2016
The Camino del Norte/The Primitivo 2016
Hi, what does it mean: The Camino becoming a conga line? Now, a conga is a kind of drum or what? English is not my first language, that is why I ask.
I have walked 1800 km on different Caminoes and I have never felt unsafe or afraid of muggers or pickpocketts. Some of my Caminoes have been quiet lonely like when I walked out of Lisboa last year. The first week I only met 4 pilgrims walking but I met tons of nice, helpful Portugese people and I never felt treatened.
A friend of mine walks with a pepperspray and I thought about doing the same, but then I realised that it probaly would be in my pack and I could not see myself asking a robber to wait a minut while I got my pepperspray out, got the lid of the can and sprayed him (of course it is a man)
 

biarritzdon

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF11, CF12, CP13, CF14, CA15, S.Anton15, CF&CI15
Ditch Pig16, CF&CP17, CdN18, CM18, CF18, LePuy19
Day 1. Its at the ready on the hip belt. No bears seen.

Day 2. Its in the top of the pack where it can be gotten if there is any hint 0f a bear in the area. No bear scat seen.

Day 3. Its in the bottom of the pack. Saw a squirrel.

Day 4. Used the spray to spice up some food. Yuck. Saw dragons ... probably due to some hallucinogenic ingredient in the pepper.

Day 5. The camp is rife with bear sightings. Some idiot sprayed their tent with bear spray under the impression it worked as a repellent. Someone else stood downwind of the bear and inhaled a lungful. The bear nearly died laughing.

Day 6. Last day. The bear spray was useless weight in the pack.

25 years later ... a bad encounter with a bear. Which was survived by good bear sense and some luck. The bear spray is at home and well past its best before date too.

So no ... bear spray is not a good addendum to anyone's pack.
Isn't this thread something akin to pissing into the wind?
Oh, I forgot there are actually dragons in Galicia, according to legend.
 
Last edited:
W

whariwharangi

Guest
You know I am reading some of these threads and thinking about all the people who have been molested or attacked and even missing this year 2015. I think it is wise to remember that the Camino is a pilgrimage only for those who are pilgrims. It is a target area for thieves, muggers and abductors...
Can you put a number on it?

Molested?

Attacked?

Missing - one confirmed missing for reasons unknown.

And then compare to percentage of pilgrims who walk the camino. Last year 220000 completed the camino. 1 missing /220000+ is so statistically small as to be insignificant.

'A target area for thieves, muggers and abductors' ... methinks not.
 

Tincatinker

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Lots ;0)
Some conversations would be better conducted in PM than live on the forum. Members with strongly held opinions may wish to consider whether expressing them actually makes a useful contribution. This is a forum for past, present and future pilgrims on the Way to Santiago to share knowledge and experience. Frustration, anger, resentment and bewilderment are better saved for airport security.
 

danielc

Member
Camino(s) past & future
SEPT '13 CF - SJPP to Santiago
OCT '14 Porto to Santiago
Prompted by advice on safety found within this forum category.

Here is my list of preventative measures for a safe Camino, any and all of the below items may be relevant. Some of these may be your second nature already. You can decidedly pick your favorite, or add if it’s not there yet.

Don’t drop your pack
Keep your gear, unless you can afford the discomfort without or replacement thereof.
Hiking poles
Ski/Hiking poles that have small tungsten tips. Heard of a guy that had to use them forcefully with great success on an attacker wielding very big knife imminently on a collision course with his limbs.
Distribute your valuables
Don’t keep all your money in the same place. Use different denominations. Only when you absolutely feel compelled to give an attacker any money, locate the least amount stashed. If a trader for instance sees how much money a tourist has the selling price may just double, while the real thieve watch from the shadows.
Whistle
There are a not many tunes that will stop an attacker, therefore get a good mind blowing decibel driven whistle instead.
Peper spray
This is a good addendum to anyone’s pack, so inclined. Some have been tested on bears.
Police
Ask police for their ID, and the number of their station, phone and confirm their existence. They should always be in uniform.
Do not tell strangers you destination
If a stranger does not know where you overnight, planning a crime ahead is somewhat impaired.
Watch the packs during times of absence
When in a group have a singleton keep an eye on the packs/belongings.
Personal Tracker
Some GPS devices has a button for emergencies (SPOT personal tracker)
Walk faster/slower
Best way to get distance between you and ……
Stealth Tenting
An old military trick. When tenting in between towns setup before dark and relocate again after dark.
Pray
Pray that you do not fall prey to the predator, the Priest said to the Pilgrim
Pretend to be in a group
Depending on the direction a stranger approach from, indicate that the rest of the group is just around the corner.

Please do add your own, and have faith.
As a solo pilgrim I used a simple idea to secure my backpack when sitting down in a café - I used the strap normally used around the neck to secure name tabs i.e. in the workplace – just clip the pack on to an adjoining chair – very discrete – if someone tried to take your pack , the chair came with them .
 

biarritzdon

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF11, CF12, CP13, CF14, CA15, S.Anton15, CF&CI15
Ditch Pig16, CF&CP17, CdN18, CM18, CF18, LePuy19
As a solo pilgrim I used a simple idea to secure my backpack when sitting down in a café - I used the strap normally used around the neck to secure name tabs i.e. in the workplace – just clip the pack on to an adjoining chair – very discrete – if someone tried to take your pack , the chair came with them .
Thus depriving someone else of a place to sit. Why not attach it to "your" chair?
 

Pattii

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
(2016)
Pattii, the problem is that you say "It is a target area for thieves, muggers and abductors..." and it very simply is not. Keep in mind that the Camino is just a day walk, day after day, on roads, in villages, people's farms. It is not remote walking even if there are some more isolated places. Also, the CF is becoming a bit of a conga line (loved how this was coined by somone here just a few days ago). When you say there are robberies, etc. in our inperfect world is true, but that doesn't make the Camino a target area. The streets of Madrid and Barcelona, now, there is a target area for pickpockets!
I am by no means saying that it will happen but we cannot ignore the fact that we have had a fellow pilgrim disappear just recently. I think that along with the tazers and the holdups and the near abductions, the threads about thieves taking things even at the albergues, backpacks and phones and the like, the implications carry enough weight for me to take extra precautions. I hope and pray that I have a very safe and uneventful journey and pray this for others, but I don't want to be a statistic and most certainly don't think I am being over cautious.

Again I understand that I have not walked it, and I hope that these things never cross my path as I do. But I think stating that it is not a target area having read these things just in the past few weeks...the people coming forward with their stories...I think those that have walked and have done it safely have a different opinion than those who have walked and something has happened to them. I would rather err on the side of caution than living in lala land and take the risk that I am as safe as can be walking alone on the Camino.
I also stated that perhaps these things have not happened to many yet but more and more people will travel as it gains popularity. When I started on this forum a few years back (left for personal reasons) there were 150,000 that had walked in that first year I was here. This last year there were more than 250,000. As it gets popular you always get the bad with the good. Albeit maybe few and far between and that is a cause for hope, but human nature has a way of getting its paws on something that could otherwise be very safe and turning it into a nightmare for some...perhaps very few but still some.

I won't comment again on the fact that I think as a solo walker that it is something that I do need to be aware of and careful to address. I do not believe in cowing to my fears but I do think being safe is much better than being sorry.

I am not trying to dampen the Camino Spirit as it were, I am just stating how I feel about being careful. This thread was originally about what a person needs to think about for safety reasons during their Camino. I don't think this is being negative. It is being proactive.
 
Last edited:

SYates

Camino Fossil AD 1999
Camino(s) past & future
First: Camino Francés 1999
...
Last: Santiago - Muxia 2019

Now: http://egeria.house/
... with the tazers and the holdups and the near abductions, the threads about thieves taking things even at the albergues, backpacks and phones and the like, ....
Can you please quote a source for those claims? Thanks! SY
 

Pattii

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
(2016)
Can you please quote a source for those claims? Thanks! SY
They are in the threads...not that hard to find. I will see if I can find them for you but I think if you look around you will see them...
 

SYates

Camino Fossil AD 1999
Camino(s) past & future
First: Camino Francés 1999
...
Last: Santiago - Muxia 2019

Now: http://egeria.house/
If you look for them, thanks, could you also please differentiate between 'hear-say' and verified first hand experiences? Thanks! SY
 

Pattii

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
(2016)
SY as you are the only person who seems to want this information I will post to you privately.
 

Pattii

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
(2016)
No reason to do that. I am sure plenty of others that are reading this thread, but have not posted in it so far, are also interested in this kind of information. So please, back-up your claims publicly, thanks. SY
So be it. These are just a few I have found on short notice, not to mention Denise.

https://www.caminodesantiago.me/community/threads/thoughts-prayers-looking-ahead.33262/#post-298409

http://www.lavozdegalicia.es/noticia/galicia/2014/09/04/usan-espray-irritante-albergue-roban-3000-euros-tras-salir-peregrinos-bano/0003_201409G4P10993.htm#.VAhlHoODEME.facebook

https://www.caminodesantiago.me/community/threads/thefts-of-money-in-the-municipal-albergue-in-ocebreiro.27691/#post-239173

https://www.caminodesantiago.me/community/threads/recent-robbery-on-last-phase-of-the-camino.30925/#post-268609

Some of which you have commented on. So I find it interesting you would need me to prove my point.

SMDH...

I don't need to defend my reasons for wanting to be safe which this thread is about. If you don't think a person needs to take precautions why not just avoid this thread?

I am now excusing myself from this thread... I hate arguments . Forums are a place for people to post what they think of said topic, not to have arguments because what they say doesn't feel right to YOU.

I will continue to uphold you all in prayer.. and wish you all a safe Camino.
 

domigee

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
See signature
I'm lost for words.... Thinking back, had I read this thread when a 'newbie' and determined to walk the Camino, I would have logged-off. Probably not come back.
So much fear!
Please don't take it badly but it is totally unnecessary. :)

And to all: buen camino.
 
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