CRIME in the Balearics has dropped 17 percent over the past six years, claimed Spain's Deputy Prime Minister, Alfredo Perez Rubalcaba in Majorca yesterday.
Rubalcaba, speaking at the opening of a new Guardia Civil quarters in Felanitx, claimed that in 2004, there were 80.7 crimes or law infringements for every 1'000 head of population in the Islands but that by this year it had dropped to 63.7.
The high profile opening was also attended by the Balearic President Francesc Antich, Central Government Delegate Ramon Socias, the Secretary of State for Tourism Joan Mesquida and Police and Guardia Civil Chief Francisco Javier Velazquez.
Rubalcaba, who is also Minister for the Interior used the figures yesterday to demonstrate what he described as the continued effort which is being made by Central Government to bring the crime rate down not just in the Balearics but in the rest of the country.
Despite the ominous predictions that crime was fast approaching worrying new levels, said Rubalcaba to an assembled group of political figures, local dignitaries, Guardia Civil and their families, government reports are showing the contrary.
If the crime rate is indeed going down, the Deputy Prime Minister furthered, it is because of the professional commitment of the Guardia Civil and the National Police and heightened coordination between them.
It is also due, said Rubalcaba to the fact that the government has provided the security forces with the resources to ensure the safety of law-abiding citizens and to keep up the momentum in the fight against crime.
Rubalcaba pointed out that the right of an individual to live in peace is part of the Spanish Constitution. If citizens are forced to live in fear of crime, then the government can guarantee none of their other rights. The work of the Guardia Civil and other police forces, said Rubalcaba, is therefore essential to our democratic nation. President Antich then addressed the attendees at the opening and made special reference to the loss of Guardia Civil officers Diego Salva and Carlos Saenz de Tejada who were assassinated by the terrorist group ETA in Palmanova last year. They will always live in our memories, said Antich.
The new Guardia Civil quarters have been erected in the urban area of Felanitx on a 552 square metre plot of land ceded by the local town council.
The construction has been completed with Central Government funds at a cost of a million euros. The buildings include the main offices where 27 officers will have their work stations and nine new accommodation units.
The staffing levels of the Guardia Civil in Felanitx have reportedly increased nearly 100 percent in five years. There were 15 officers there in 2005 whilst now there are 27.
Rubalcaba said that the Guardia Civil in Felantix had a tradition to be proud of because there is now a second generation of officers who have chosen to follow in their fathers' footsteps.