Spain: unprecedented explosion of violence

Wave after wave of immigrants has brought Spanish society to crisis point. An unprecedented wave of violence has stretched police resources to the limit as tell-tale statistics are revealed.

The wave of marginal activity was startlingly presented on Spanish TV during the last week, when a group of immigrants performed a ram-raid of a jeweller’s shop. The van they were driving reversed into the shop window, the occupants jumped inside and filled their bags with gems, escaping minutes before the first police car arrived.

Such scenes are now rife in what was one of the quietest countries in western Europe. Crime rose 10% in the last year and reached record proportions. Most crime is against property, nevertheless there were 1,200 murders during 2001.

1,500,000 immigrants have entered Spain in the last year and according to a high-ranking police officer “one per cent of these come to Spain to live a life of crime”, translating into 15,000 hardened criminals every year. More than half the 232,000 arrests made last year were foreigners and 470 foreign gangs have been revealed, many of these being classified as “extremely violent” by the authorities.

Days ago, in central Madrid, the inhabitants of the Spanish capital were entertained by a real-life far west shoot-out between rival gangs of Columbians, leaving seven dead. Almost a quarter of violent deaths registered in the past year in Madrid were Columbians and this nationality similarly makes up around 25% of the country’s jail population.

The concentration of the dwindling police resources on counter-terrorism activities against ETA has meant that there is a short-fall to deal with street crime. The issue has become a political hot potato which is bound to cause repercussions at the next elections.


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