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Thefts/arrests In albergues along the Camino/Just a reminder !!!

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Bob from L.A. !

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Past OR future Camino
Camino Francis 2012, 2014, 2016. Camino Norte 2018. Many more to come in my future God willing !
I just read news reports, published in at least two Spanish news media outlets dated July 16, 2021 pertaining to thefts from albergues and the arrest of two individuals by Guardia Civil in Ames, in the Galician province of La Coruna.
The report described a male and female, who would break into albergues late at night and steal from the communal refrigerators and vending machines within the albergues. The articles went on to include that the pair were stopped in a vehicle which had numerous pieces of luggage in it. It added the pair are now facing 10 counts of theft/burglary.
The story concluded in the Spanish News Today article that the female had previously been arrested and charge with 62 counts of theft in 2018 from hotels!
While thefts are not commonplace along the camino's I believe these news story's are a good reminder for all of us to be aware of not only our surroundings while out walking all day, but when we are in a new place of temporary "residency" every night.
 
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jerbear

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Camino madrid, via de Plata. Santiago.
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t2andreo

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2022
Situational awareness on Camino, or simply when traveling, is critical! You need to maintain 360 degree awareness of your environment and surroundings - day or night. it is NOT paranoia or neurosis. It is sound personal security practice.

Always keep your irreplaceable or valuable items with you at all times. Use a waterproof bag to keep these items with you when you shower in an albergue.

Use a bum bag or shoulder bag when you are away from your accommodations, like in the evening.

Never presume that even a locked door in a hostal / hotel will protect them.

Hope this helps.

Tom
 
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I don't bring anything I cannot replace on a camino. I do keep my passport, credit card, and phone near and so far I have never had a problem. Knock on wood.

Off the camino, I was once pick-pocketed in Madrid. This was an eye-opener for me and I am now very cautious in big cities. I was clearly identifiable as someone who just stepped off the trail and an easy target.
 

ScottPilgrim

Member
Past OR future Camino
2021
I don't bring anything I cannot replace on a camino. I do keep my passport, credit card, and phone near and so far I have never had a problem. Knock on wood.

Off the camino, I was once pick-pocketed in Madrid. This was an eye-opener for me and I am now very cautious in big cities. I was clearly identifiable as someone who just stepped off the trail and an easy target.
Yep. I have lived in NYC since college and oddly, never had my wallet stolen (actually had it returned once and once my daughter dropped hers in Penn Station and someone brought it to her school!), but I was pick pocketed in Philly when I was just passing through. It was the typical thing where I put my wallet down for a second while making a call (in the age of payphones) and someone just scooped it up.
 

gmag

Active Member
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frances 1998, 2000, 2013
Thieves are much more frequent in municipal albergues than in private albergues, which are usually smaller and where we hospitaleros have a more personal relationship with pilgrims, although this is not always the case.
The main risk factor is size.
 
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lt56ny

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2021
Yep. I have lived in NYC since college and oddly, never had my wallet stolen (actually had it returned once and once my daughter dropped hers in Penn Station and someone brought it to her school!), but I was pick pocketed in Philly when I was just passing through. It was the typical thing where I put my wallet down for a second while making a call (in the age of payphones) and someone just scooped it up.
Being a native New Yorker and having grown up in a time that for most of the transplants who many have made New York almost unrecognizable and unaffordable it isn't odd at all that you have never had your wallet stolen. Our I grew up in the 60's when New York was a lot grittier, dirtier and did have more crime, but it was alot more vibrant alive and as in any big city ANYWHERE you just had to have some street smarts. Yea, maybe you might get pickpocketed but it is not odd it is just the way things are EVERYWHERE.
 
Past OR future Camino
2018
Never had a problem on the CP or the CF, but a fellow walker on the CP reported she lost 50Euros of her cash, taken in a bar near Lisbon when she left the cash tucked under her coaster/drink (not the best idea in any bar anywhere!) while she used the washroom. When she returned to the bar, her friends had been distracted for a moment by a commotion at a nearby table and apparently the cash disappeared during the commotion. Bartender swore she had seen nothing and accused the pilgrim of fabricating a story to get a free drink. Got to pay attention, no matter where you are in the world, except maybe in Japan (from my personal experiences trekking there).
 

trecile

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Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
but a fellow walker on the CP reported she lost 50Euros of her cash, taken in a bar near Lisbon when she left the cash tucked under her coaster/drink (not the best idea in any bar anywhere!) while she used the washroom.
Sounds like she learned an expensive lesson!
 
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Rebekah Scott

Camino Busybody
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Many, various, and continuing.
Thieves are much more frequent in municipal albergues than in private albergues, which are usually smaller and where we hospitaleros have a more personal relationship with pilgrims, although this is not always the case.
The main risk factor is size.
Can you prove this, or is it just conjecture? I don't believe this for a minute.
 

Pilgrim9

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Past OR future Camino
SJPdP-SdC (2017)
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It is indeed prudent to maintain vigilance.

BTW I use one of these under-door locking wedges when I stay at private-room lodgings, but not when the locking screw might mark the floor.

Warning: Although the locking wedge can help to keep burglars out, in case of fire, flood, or earthquake it will keep you IN, so consider all risks before using. I put a white visibility sock on top of the wedge and keep a flashlight beside my bed so that I will be able to quickly find the wedge and remove it should need arise for rapid evacuation. The white visibility sock also helps to avoid stubbed toes!

 
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The travel stuff company Magellans has a door stop alarm that is only $15 and 3 oz. and does not look like it would mar a floor. It looks like it would help alert everyone that an unwelcome entrance was being made.

You will find that very difficult to use in an albergue full of pilgrims, and personally, I don't believe you need such a thing in a private albergue. Funny, though, I took something similar on my first Camino in 2006 - worried I was - and discarded it within the first week.
 

gmag

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Past OR future Camino
frances 1998, 2000, 2013
Can you prove this, or is it just conjecture? I don't believe this for a minute.

I'm going to explain it to you in easy words, Rebekah.

A albergues thief seeks as much as possible to go unnoticed.
Where is this most easily achieved?
Answer: in a large albergue.

A albergues thief also seeks to have as many victims as possible in one place and in the shortest possible time.
Where do you get this?
Answer: In a large albergue.

In which albergues are there more chances of meeting more people such as hospitaleros, volunteers, etc? Answer: in municipal and religious institutions.
In them it is easier for a specific hospitalero not to know all the pilgrims inside. It usually happens that a hospitalero who works alone knows all the faces, this also I suppose you understand.

In which albergues were there the highest number of robberies in 2019?
Answer: I do not want to name names, but it was in the municipalities of certain large cities. Specifically (from Roncesvalles to Leon) two cities concentrated the highest number of robberies.
OF COURSE I'm not going to give their names here! That happened two years ago and I am not going to play with the current reputation of any hostel or town or city.

I don't care that you don't believe for a minute what I say, nor do I pretend it.
It is just a matter of common sense.
 
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Phil71

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Portuguese (2014,2016),Primitivo (2015), San Salvador (2017), Norte (2018), Ingles (2018)
7 or 8 Caminos. Never had a problem. So easy for me to dismiss the risk and I know I should not! So a useful reminder and I thank the OP.
 

RJM

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
A few times
Can you prove this, or is it just conjecture? I don't believe this for a minute.
My only experience with multiple thefts in an albergue was at a municipal. A large one. Very crowded that night. I'd guess more than eighty pilgrims. Backpacks everywhere on the floor. I wasn't a victim but over the next couple of days I talked with fellow pilgrims that were there that night that told me they had money stolen from their packs.
 

dick bird

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Thieves are much more frequent in municipal albergues than in private albergues, which are usually smaller and where we hospitaleros have a more personal relationship with pilgrims, although this is not always the case.
The main risk factor is size.
Can you prove this, or is it just conjecture? I don't believe this for a minute.
What gmag says is common sense, and evidence based. I am afraid I have actually known thieves personally and in conversation they explained how much easier it is to pass unnoticed in crowded places. Municipal albergues are crowded and do not always even have hospitaleros on duty 24/7. Easiest thing in the world to stroll in and stroll out again with someone else's property in your pocket.
 
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