Staff Reporter

PALMA
RAMON Socías, the central government representative in the Balearics, yesterday blamed the high crime rate in the Balearics on the influx of tourists and stressed that despite having the highest rate of crime in Spain, the number of offences and misdemeanours had actually dropped by 1.32 per cent last year and by ten per cent over the past four years.

He was speaking a day after the release of the annual report on Crime in Spain, released by Spanish Minister of the Interior, Alfredo Pérez Rubalcaba, in Madrid.

Socías said that although once again the Balearics was the region with the highest crime rate in Spain (78.8 penal infractions for every 1'000 inhabitants), he attached more importance to the fact that “despite the increase in population over the last three years, the crime rate has dropped progressively thanks to the presence of more and better equipped police.” Socías, accompanied by the Police Chief Elicio Amez and Guardia Civil Colonel Basilio Sánchez, pointed out that the drop in the crime rate in 2006 was higher than the average of the rest of Spain, which was 0.2 per cent. What's more, he added, the number of offences and misdemeanours in the Balearics has dropped from 81'693 in 2003 to 73'459 last year.

There was a 3.56 per cent drop in crimes against property, which Socias described as “significant” as it was “almost double” the national average, and this type of crime accounts for half of those committed in the islands.

He said that there had been a ten per cent drop in muggings and 15 per cent in car theft, but there had been a considerable increase in domestic violence cases (up by nearly 19 per cent) and cases connected with drug trafficking (up by 28 per cent).

Socias said that offences in the Balearics were attributed to one million inhabitants, while they really corresponded to a volume of 12 million tourists a year. If all year round were a tourist low season, the rate would be 54 crimes per 1'000 inhabitants, if it were a 12-month high season, it would rise to 92.2.

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