Crime in Spain
Crime in Spain is fought by Spain's law enforcement agencies.
Crime statistics for Spain are published annually by the Instituto Nacional de Estadística. Different agencies of Spain and the European Union conduct analysis of the crime data in Spain. Statistics show Spain is one of the European countries with the lowest crime rate, according to a 2005 Gallop Europe research study. The rate of misdemeanours and crimes in Spain was 46 per 1,000 people in 2009.
Crime by type
Spain is the principal route of entry of drugs and narcotics into the European Union. Indeed, about half of the cocaine found by law enforcement agencies in Europe is found by Spanish police. Spain has a high number of drug users, leading the table of cocaine users in Europe.
Cocaine usage in Spain is high by world standards. Spain is a major transit point for cocaine entering Europe. After arrival in Spain, much of the cocaine is then trafficked to other countries. In 2005, over 50% of the cocaine found by police in Europe was found by Spanish police. The so-called Galician mafia is the main trafficker of cocaine into Spain and to European countries such as the United Kingdom.
Background level of crime against tourists
The US Department of State's Bureau of Consular Affairs advised travellers in 2011 that Spain had a "moderate rate of crime". Street crimes against tourists occur in the principal tourist areas. Madrid and Barcelona, in particular, report incidents of "pick-pocketing, mugging, and occasional violent attacks". The incidence of sexual assault "is statistically very low".
In Madrid, incidents have been reported in "all major tourist areas, including the area near the Prado Museum, near Atocha train station, in Retiro Park, in areas of old Madrid including near the Royal Palace, and in Plaza Mayor". In Barcelona, the largest number of incidents reported also occurred in major tourist areas.
Immigration and crime
There has been the impression amongst a small percentage of the population in Spain that the increase in the number of crimes is related to the increase in the number of foreigners living in Spain. 70% of all crimes are committed by Spaniards and 30% by foreigners, even though foreigners make up only 15% of the population. In addition to immigrants living in the country committing disproportionate levels of crime, foreign criminals also travel to the country specifically to carry out offences. In his autobiography Undesirables, British criminal Colin Blaney has stated that English pickpocket and jewelry theft gangs have targeted the nation. Pickpockets from Romania also heavily target Spain.
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