by Staff Reporter
THE Palma federation of neighbourhood associations, FEPAE, and the central government representative Ramón Socías, are involved in a war of words over delinquency, the former claiming it is on the rise and the latter denying the charges.

Socías had separate meetings with representatives of FEPAE, and a similar federation, FAAVV, both of which expressed concern at the increase in crime in Palma.

They demanded more action to bring this to a halt.
Socías, however, said he was ”surprised” at this ”perception” on the part of the associations, and, while he did not give clear figures on delinquency during the first half of this year, he maintained that it had gone down compared to other years, and in some areas it had done so ”in a spectacular way.” Socias questioned the origin of the “radical messages” which claim that crime is on the increase. He said it was “very dangerous” to raise the alarm over this question in a tourist area and it was particularly bad to single out for blame groups such as immigrants.

The government representative did admit that delinquency was a problem, but stressed that it was no worse than previous years and pointed out that the shortage in police manpower, 29 percent less than it should be, is an inheritance from the previous government. Socías said that the situation regarding delinquency, “is the same as three months ago, with the difference that there has been a change of government.” He also accused the conservative Balearic government of giving a deformed vision of the actual situation.

All the same, he confirmed that delinquency in Palma has moved from some districts and into others, because of regentrifying some of the more run down areas.

But Soledad Sarabia, chairwoman of FEPAE, said that the level of delinquency in Palma was “alarming” and expressed surprise that Socias should say that figures showed the opposite. The Federation “does not share these figures,” she said, claiming that there were not enough police officers and accusing them of “lowering their guard” in recent months.

She praised the decision to hold a meeting of the security council in September to analyse the situation but demanded urgent steps to do something to be taken immediately.

Sarabia also complained about the increase in organised gangs and the upsurge of delinquency in usually quiet areas such as the bullring or Pere Garau.

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