Crime in Spain

Spanish Police officers in Rastro market, Madrid.

Crime in Spain is combated by Spain's law enforcement agencies.

Crime by type


In 2012, Spain had a murder rate of 0.8 per 100,000 population.[1] There were a total of 364 murders in Spain in 2012.[1]

Drug-related crime

Spain is the principal route of entry of drugs and narcotics into the European Union. Indeed, about half of the cocaine found by law enforcement agencies in Europe is found by Spanish police.[2] Spain has a high number of drug users, leading the table of cocaine users in Europe.[2]

Cocaine importation

Cocaine usage in Spain is high by world standards.[3] Spain is a major transit point for cocaine entering Europe.[3] After arrival in Spain, much of the cocaine is then trafficked to other countries.[3] In 2005, over 50% of the cocaine found by police in Europe was found by Spanish police.[3] The so-called Galician mafia is the main trafficker of cocaine into Spain and to European countries such as the United Kingdom.

Background level of crime against tourists

The US Department of State's Bureau of Consular Affairs advised travellers in 2011 that Spain had a "moderate rate of crime".[4] Street crimes against tourists occur in the principal tourist areas.[4] Madrid and Barcelona, in particular, report incidents of "pick-pocketing, mugging, and occasional violent attacks".[4] The incidence of sexual assault "is statistically very low".[4]

In Madrid, incidents have been reported in "all major tourist areas, including the area near the Prado Museum, near Atocha train station, in Retiro Park, in areas of old Madrid including near the Royal Palace, and in Plaza Mayor".[4] In Barcelona, the largest number of incidents reported also occurred in major tourist areas.[4]

Crime dynamics

Immigration and crime

There has been the impression amongst a small percentage of the population in Spain that the increase in the number of crimes is related to the increase in the number of foreigners living in Spain. 65% of all crimes are committed by Spaniards and 35% by foreigners, even though foreigners make up only 15% of the population. In addition to immigrants living in Spain committing disproportionate levels of crime, foreign criminals also travel to Spain specifically to carry out offences. In his autobiography Undesirables, British criminal Colin Blaney has stated that English pickpocket and jewelry theft gangs have targeted Spain.[5] Pickpockets from Romania also heavily target Spain.[6]

Crime statistics

Crime statistics for Spain are published annually by the Instituto Nacional de Estadística.[7] Different agencies of Spain and the European Union conduct analysis of the crime data in Spain. Statistics show Spain is one of the European countries with the lowest crime rate, according to a 2005 Gallop Europe research study.[8][9][10][11][12] The rate of misdemeanours and crimes in Spain was 46 per 1,000 people in 2009.[13] In 2013 Spain had one of the lowest crime rates in Europe. [14]


  1. 1 2 Global Study on Homicide. United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, 2013.
  2. 1 2 Tremlett, Giles (7 September 2005). "Spain tops table of cocaine use". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 15 August 2011.
  3. 1 2 3 4 Tremlett, Giles (7 September 2005). "Spain tops table of cocaine use". The Guardian. London.
  4. 1 2 3 4 5 6
  5. Blaney, Colin (2014). Undesirables. John Blake. p. 8. ISBN 978-1782198970.
  6. Tremlett, Giles (14 July 2011). "The lone woman waging war on Barcelona's pickpockets". The Guardian.
  7. "Datos de Seguridad y Justicia" (in Spanish). Madrid. Retrieved 15 August 2011. |first1= missing |last1= in Authors list (help)
  8. Hampshire, David (2000). Living and Working in Spain: Survival Handbook. Survival Handbooks (Third ed.). Survival Books. ISBN 978-1-901130-41-6.
  9. Jan van Dijk, Robert Manchin, John van Kesteren, Sami Nevala, Gergely Hideg. "The Burden of Crime in the EU" (PDF). Galluo Europe. Retrieved 15 August 2011.
  10. Gómez, Ignacio. "Un informe europeo clasifica a España como el país de Europa con menos delincuencia común" (in Spanish). Madrid: Diario 20 Minutos. Retrieved 15 August 2011.
  11. Europeworld. "European Crime Rates". Europe World. Retrieved 23 August 2011.
  12. Johnston, Philip (6 February 2007). "Britain tops European crime league". London: The Telegraph. Retrieved 23 August 2011.
  13. J. A. R. (9 March 2010). "La delincuencia en 2009 fue la más baja de la década, según Interior" (in Spanish). Madrid: El País. Retrieved 15 August 2011.
  14. La criminalidad en España cada 1000 habitantes (entre enero y mayo 2014)

External links

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