While the local authorities try to get to grips with the fastest rising crime rate in Spain, it was revealed yesterday in parliament that, so far this year, 3.000 cars have been stolen in the Balearics and 1.750 homes broken into. The figures are however far from the country's highest, the most number of car thefts are committed in Madrid and Andalucia, but the report will do little to boost the community's confidence in the security services and ease the growing sense of insecurity, which has become one of the public's main concerns in Majorca this year. The Balearics are over 300 policemen and women short at present, a gap central government has agreed to fill as quickly as possible, but as the population continues to grow, so too do the demands on the police forces and Palma wants Madrid to introduce more measures for the future. Palma is one of the four cities in Spain to have been set aside for immediate police attention in the first phase of a national crackdown on crime in Spain's cities. One of the biggest problems for the Balearics is that police men and women on the mainland are not applying for vacancies in the National Police and Guardia Civil, hence the shortfall. The lack of adequate financial compensation to cover relocation to the islands and the high cost of living are putting applicants off. The newly formed multi-lingual serious crime squad is to include Palma on its beat but despite new community policing projects launched by both the National and Local Police forces, the general public are still concerned about safety and security. A new security co-ordination board is being set up to address the deficiencies in the Balearics. The local government, members of which are calling for an autonomous police force, hope that solutions will be quickly forthcoming.


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