Concept of the Month -- June 2007

Musings about City Safety - USA and Spain

My wife and I just returned from two weeks in Spain. We made our own way by public transportation or rental car -- i.e., no organized tour. We had read in U.S. publications warnings about crime, and friends urged us to be careful. During our two weeks, we traveled to a variety of locations including Barcelona (the "New York" of Spain ), San Sebastian (a seaside city), the large port city of Bilbao, and to some small towns. What was so striking was how safe we felt. (We were told that there was virtually no crime in San Sebastian.) I observed that, everywhere we traveled, people walked the streets day and night in a seemingly carefree manner in cities and towns that were vital and alive. They were enjoying their cities!

It is true that we took precautions with valuables including not wearing any jewelry, concealing passports, credit cards, and money in pouches worn around our necks, and never leaving luggage unattended. Also, we were not prowling around or going to bars at three in the morning. Never did we feel imperiled.

I was wishing that our great American cities seemed just as safe to Americans and to tourists as well!

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