The Balearic crime rate has this year increased more than any other region in Spain, setting alarm bells ringing in political and judicial circles. The latest report for the first three months of the year shows that the number of crimes committed in the Balearics between January and March was 8.900, nearly 40 per cent more than during the first quarter of last year. A total of 6.419 crimes were reported in the Balearics between January and March last year, 38.65 per cent less. The latest set of figures confirms that the Balearics now has the sixth highest crime rate in Spain. Obviously the two main crime hot spots are Madrid and Barcelona, followed by Valencia, Alicante, Malaga and the Balearics. But while the latest figure is causing concern, at the end of April, the SUP police union, reported that penal crime in the Balearics, according to its figures, rose by 49 per cent and that the Balearics accounts for five per cent of the nation's juvenile crime - one of the crime areas causing the most concern for the police and social organisations. During the first four months of last year, the police handled 5.882 penal crimes, between January and the end of April this year, that figures rise to 8.802. Half of the region's municipalities are fighting a crime rate of 48.8 crimes per 1'000 inhabitants, which is above the national average. Crime and safety has become one of the burning issues in the Balearics and one of the population's key concerns. All areas of the region have felt the brunt of the crime wave this year, Pollensa was rocked by a wave of juvenile crime earlier in the year and Manacor was shaken by a spate of car thefts while in Palma, parents and teachers have managed to secure a greater Local Police presence near schools and colleges to help combat the rise in juvenile crimes and muggings. Palma's Local Police force, members of which have been attending special training courses to improve urban policing, has also asked for more power to be able to crack down on rising crime, but in some parts of Majorca, the Local Police forces are no longer large enough to cope and are buckling under the pressure of the rise in crime and size of the population. This year, the crime rate has risen in 32 of Spain's 52 provinces with a 5.7 per cent increase in the national crime rate, much lower that the sharp increase in the Balearics which the local authorities are busy trying to decide how best to tackle.