Insecurity in Barcelona: "It has grown"
A meme travels these days without stopping the phones of all the police in Barcelona. It shows the official logo of the City Hall next to Puñalín, the cartoon of a cuchi
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A meme travels these days without stopping the phones of all the police in Barcelona. It shows the official logo of the Town Hall next to Puñalín , the cartoon of a bloody knife that is presented as «the new mascot of the city». The image, frivolous as it may seem, summarizes the sensation that spreads in the city this summer. The Catalan capital is plunged into a "security crisis" that neither its leaders deny. The last, Albert Batlle, deputy mayor, precisely, Security.
Official figures justify the concern. Crimes have risen by 9%, especially thefts and robberies. But the facts that the headlines take worry even more. So far this year, Barcelona has accumulated 12 homicides, the last one on Thursday morning, when a 47-year-old man was stabbed. Nine of the murders have been committed in just a month and a half. A rhythm that has set off alarms that, on the other hand, were activated but without measures would accompany it.
"The insecurity that has been growing in recent years is flourishing." A commander of the Urban Guard, who asks for anonymity, considers that the situation that Barcelona is going through "is impossible to explain for one or two reasons." Stabs, violent robberies or narco-drugs - occupied homes where heroin is dispensed to drug addicts - are in the eyes of those who deal in one of the most conflictive districts, “a sum of many problems that are now being tried to solve. And it will take a long time to do it ». Among other aspects, it points to errors in the management of security by the municipality, lack of agents and collaboration between administrations and the smell of mafias and criminals to interpret these gaps.
One of the elements that has most stressed police work has been security policies during Ada Colau's first term. To the initial mistrust of the commons with the Urban Guard - one of its first announcements was the dismantling of the riot unit -, added what in police areas is considered as laxity. "Social responses were prioritized, but at the same time the police were banned from situations that required pressure."
One of the direct effects of this dispute has been, in police opinion, to transfer to the mafias and criminal organizations that "it is a kind of sanctuary city where to act without as much pressure as in other capitals . " It has happened with the pickpockets bands, although the most visible result has been the proliferation of narco-flats that came to invade the Raval neighborhood.
The phenomenon not only brought dozens of drug addicts back to the neighborhood, but also the security problems that are always implanted where drug trafficking is concentrated. The images of fights between camels to stabs or even machetazos became commonplace for months, until two police macro-operations, by then with the support of a city council pressed by the accumulation of crimes, managed to neutralize the gangs. The floors have diminished and dispersed to other neighborhoods, taking with them the same problems. Thursday's death has been attributed by police sources, precisely, to drug trafficking.
Another phenomenon that remains entrenched is that of unaccompanied minors (Mena), whose crime rate is low - only 18% of them have committed crimes, according to Mossos data - but whose actions this summer swell the feeling of insecurity . The majority of robberies with violence in the center of the city are attributed to groups of minors from Morocco. The last one, this Thursday, when a tourist was stabbed in the back to steal a watch valued at 8,000 euros . Evidence that the solution is still far from Batlle himself. After defending the "assisted return" to their countries of minors who commit crimes, the PSC councilor was forced to rectify the following day due to pressure from the Colau team.
The lack of collaboration between administrations is also one of those responsible for the situation. Govern and city council have maintained bitter disputes over the lack of Mossos agents in the city. A crack that has also affected the Police, whose immigration controls "e have drastically lowered."
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