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Handling Violent Situations in Spanish-Speaking Countries

6 of 6 in Series: The Essentials of Dealing with Emergencies in Spanish-Speaking Countries

If you're planning a vacation to a Spanish-speaking country, you don't want to think about getting robbed, attacked, or caught in a violent situation, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t figure out how to handle such situations in advance. The best approach you can take is to try memorizing a few Spanish words and phrases in advance and to follow these two simple steps.

  1. Try to alert passersby that you’re being robbed or attacked.

    You have a couple different options for letting passersby know you’re in trouble. You can shout out these phrases:

    • ¡Llamen a la policía! (yah-mehn ah lah poh-lee-seeah) (Call the police!)

    • ¡Me robó la billetera! (meh roh-bvoh lah bvee-yeh-teh-rah) ([She/he] stole my wallet!)

    Or, if it’s easier, you can attract the help you need with just one or two words:

    • ¡Un robo! (oon roh-bvoh) (A burglary!)

    • ¡Un asalto! (oon ah-sahl-toh) (A holdup!)

    • ¡Atrápenlo! (ah-trah-pehn-loh) (Catch him!)

    • ¡Policía! (poh-lee-seeah) (Police!)

  2. Report the robbery or attack to the local police.

    The following sentences are examples that you may find helpful to use when describing the culprit to the police.

    • Era un hombre bajo, corpulento. (eh-rah oon ohm-bvreh bvah-Hoh kohr-poo-lehn-toh) (He was a short man, heavyset.)

    • Tenía cabello oscuro y barba. (teh-neeah kah-bveh-yoh ohs-koo-roh ee bvahr-bvah) (He had dark hair and a beard.)

    • Vestía pantalón de mezclilla, y camisa blanca. (bvehs-teeah pahn-tah-lohn deh mehs-klee-yah ee kah-mee-sah bvlahn-kah) (He wore jeans, and a white shirt.)

    • Tendrá unos cuarenta años. (tehn-drah oo-nohs kooah-rehn-tah ah-nyos) (He’s around forty.)

    • Iba con una mujer delgada. (ee-bvah kohn oo-nah moo-Hehr dehl-gah-dah) (He was with a thin woman.)

    • Era alta, rubia, de ojos claros. (eh-rah ahl-tah roo-bveeah deh oh-Hohs klah-rohs) (She was tall, blond, light-colored eyes.)

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