S'Aranjassa residents who are members of the WhatsApp group. | Alejandro Sepúlveda


S’Aranjassa in Palma is somewhat separated from the city, a reason why, residents say, there is a lack of police cover. Stressing that they have "a good relationship" with the authorities, they have nevertheless established a neighbourhood watch scheme and are prepared to deal with matters directly.

During the pandemic, a WhatsApp group - Vigilancia s'Aranjassa - was set up and it is said to have become "a very effective tool" in preventing and solving possible emergencies and incidents. Messages can range from a lost dog to warnings of suspicious or criminal behaviour.

"The idea is clear. Together, we watch our streets and our homes. If you see criminals or something that could be dangerous for us and our children, report it here." This is the welcome message from the WhatsApp group, members of which have been providing some examples of incidents. Most are minor, but others are less so. For instance, at a plot under construction a van turned up that no one had seen before. Building materials and light machinery began to be loaded into the van. A resident observed this and shared the information with the group.

Toni Alves explains: "We quickly realised that it was a robbery. We found him in Sant Jordi and asked him to return everything that had been stolen. He did."   

The president of the residents association, Toni Server,  relates a case of cars being broken into. "Through the group, we found one of those involved in these robberies hanging around the area. He left and hasn't returned."

The surveillance has been working. Toni Alves adds: "Some thieves know that if they try to break into cars and we see them, they will have to contend with ten to fifteen residents within a matter of moments. If the bad guys know that they will have problems here because there are over a hundred guards looking out for them, they will stop coming."