Silvia Fuentes, chief inspector of the National Police robberies squad | Alejandro Sepúlveda


According to a report published today, Palma is Spain's third most dangerous city for tourists after Bilbao and Barcelona.

The report by Numbeo and published in the Daily Express has placed Palma in the top three.

However, earlier this year, Silvia Fuentes, chief inspector of the National Police's robberies squad in Palma, from speaking with colleagues from other units, said that Palma is a safe city, with crime rates much lower than in other cities in the rest of Spain.

"Palma has never been an excessively challenging city. We are an island and the entrance and exit of thieves is quite controlled. When we come across a wave of unusual thefts, the perpetrators are foreigners. On the island itself, the police know who the thieves are, and they know the police. This, without any doubt, helps us solve many cases."

A general crime profile is that most petty theft is committed by Spanish nationals. "We have almost all of them on file. These are repeat offenders in most cases." The more professional thieves are foreign, and they are characterised by their specialities. For example, breaking and entering on a ground or first floor is most typical of burglars from South America. Spanish drug addicts typically rob easy targets, like shops. Quick money to immediately buy drugs."

While comparatively safe, she says that the level of crime in Palma towards the end of last year and at the start of this year is more or less back to where it was before the pandemic.

"During 2020 and 2021 because of the state of alarm and the situation in the succeeding months, criminal activity plummeted throughout Spain."

But, there does appear to be a dispute over the number of police in Mallorca.

The Partido Popular opposition are pointing to data which suggest that Palma is now the fifth most unsafe city in Spain with 50,000 or more residents. This compares with the situation in 2016 when Palma was sixteenth.

The president of the PP in Palma, Jaime Martínez, attributes this to "the progressive loss of local police officers". According to the PP's own figures, there are currently 600 officers on the streets, whereas there were 1,000 twenty years ago, at a time when the population of the municipality was some 100,000 lower.

Martínez, a former Balearic tourism minister and likely PP candidate for mayor at the next election, says that if the number of officers doesn't increase to at least 900 by the time of the election (May 2023), the PP will increase numbers "when we come to govern".

In his view, residents of Palma have had enough of high crime rates, which he blames on a lack of security on the streets, "especially at night".