AS Spain is virtually closed for business one consolation has been the sharp drop in crime across the country. Activities that occupy a grey area such as street prostitution and brothels have died out as people cannot hang around on the streets and “hostess clubs” have been closed. Burglary and violent crimes have all been reported as significantly lower. Drug dealing, which was often done in shady bars or on the street, has visibly dropped as gatherings are prohibited and even two people on the street together find themselves with a high chance of being questioned by the authorities, many of them alerted by local residents.
Police say that the emergency 092 number’s majority of calls concern the virus, often to report offenders flouting the new rules while calls for “normal” crimes are way down. Mugging and thefts on the street is almost zero even in big cities as people, particularly the elderly who are often targeted for such crimes, stay at home. Burglaries are virtually non-existent as people are in the property 24-7, with only the occasional report of break-ins at empty houses. Even then neighbours are more likely to notice and hear people entering a property. Overnight break-ins at bars and betting shops are non-existent as none of them now have cash on the premises. The one concern is the potential for violence – especially gender violence – as the self-isolation period continues. The thriving black market in face masks and hand cleanser has also led to an increase in thefts of these products which are not usually as well protected as say cash or jewellery.