Catalonia Records Spike in Drug Offenses as Other Crimes Plummet in 2020

CATALONIA has recorded record-breaking decreases in crime this year, yet has seen a spike in drug offenses of 12%.

The region saw a 27.7% decrease in all crime between January 1st and September 30th this year compared to 2019, higher than Spain’s overall rate of 20.2%. Experts believe this is linked to a sharp fall in tourism, particularly in Barcelona. The capital saw a staggering 56% plummet in reported crimes, amounting to around 100,000 fewer incidents than in the previous year.

The city has long had a reputation as Europe’s pickpocket capital, but the sharp reduction in tourism brought reported thefts down by almost 60%. Violent robberies, like muggings, were similarly reduced with a 26% decrease reported across Catalonia and a 33% drop in Barcelona. 

However, the region has seen a spike in drug offenses of 12%. For the last few years Catalonia, particularly its capital, has seen a steady increase in drug trafficking. It is possible that this increase is the result of increased time allocation police could assign to this type of criminal activity given the decrease in other areas.

Analysts have also pointed out evidence that domestic violence and other gender crimes have increased during the pandemic, in part due to nightly curfews and other lockdown measures. Crimes of this nature are often not adequately reflected in statistics as many offenses go unreported.

In Catalonia, 40 people have been murdered this year, one less than in 2019. In Spain, 232 homicide victims were recorded in 2020 marking a decrease of 17 from last year. However, across the country attempted murders rose by 15.6%, with 725 incidents reported.


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Written by

Oisin Sweeney

Oisin is an Irish writer based in Seville, the sunny capital of Andalucia. After starting his working life as a bookseller, he moved into journalism and cut his teeth as a reporter at one of Ireland's biggest news websites. Since joining Euro Weekly News in November, he has enjoyed covering the latest stories from Seville, Spain and further afield - with special interests in crime, cybersecurity, and European politics. Anyone who can pronounce his name first try gets a free cerveza...

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