Urban insecurity is one of the main preoccupations of the Spanish citizen. Shocking figures released by the Spanish police about an increasing wave of delinquency on the streets of the Spanish capital leave no margin for doubt: Spain is gripped by a spiralling crime wave.
The figures speak for themselves: 175,535 crimes reported in Madrid between January and July 2002 with an average of 835 crimes per day. The crimes include burglary, robbery with violence and mugging.
22,725 robberies with violence were reported in the same period, some of these resulting in death, while na average of 51 cars per day are stolen. The Spanish government attributes this rise in crime to the influx of immigrants. In the last three years, an estimated 2.5 to 3 million illegal immigrants entered the country.
Under particular suspicion are the Columbians, who practice a degree of violence until now unreported in Spain. In one week, 13 were arrested in Madrid for kidnapping and murder. The Spanish police reveal that 7 out of every 10 arrests are made on foreigners.
The government intends to react by boosting the number of police on the streets by 20,000 and changing the law on immigration. Other countries have tried, and failed, with the same methods. While there is social injustice in the world, there will be a market for illegal immigration. Most of the illegal immigrants simply want to work, to improve their living conditions at home. A few are criminals who look for richer pickings where the grass is greener.
In neighbouring Portugal, Valentyn, a Ukrainian, is a good example. An environmental engineer by profession, he works as a carpenter’s assistant near Lisbon. After paying the mafia 1,000 USD, he was arranged work in Sintra but left after numerous “visits” by Ukrainians and Moldavians who demand money from their compatriots “to help their fellow countrymen”. Failure to pay results in a broken leg, or threats against the family at home. Having arranged another job for himself, he earns 800 USD per month, 30 times more than his salary in the Ukraine.
Many of these mafia thugs who exploit their fellow countrymen instead of helping them, have been caught in Portugal and Spain but they are the symptom and not the cause. There are two problems in this issue: illegal immigration and insufficient policing methods brought on by the surge in monetarism in the 1980s. Under this economic model, market economy theories were (idiotically) applied to policing. Super squadrons were built, serving large areas of the population. To service the needs, officers were taken off the streets and put behind desks to fill in forms for the bureaucrats to see.
Statisticians were then employed to politicise the figures. The price of a policeman per head of population was worked out and the economic model seemed sound enough. Until one day, when crime rates started rising and people started speaking about putting the police back on the street.
What appears to work best is the local police station, in every suburb of the city, where the local officers contact the population and know who the trouble-makers are, where and how they operate. Surveillance video cameras keep crime rates low in the areas where they operate and a hands-on drugs policy, initiating treatment schemes wherever possible, keep drug-related crime under control.
With illegal immigration, the treatment is easy to diagnose but hard to implement. In a world in which the “haves” have so much more than the have-nots, and in which the have-nots will only become the “haves” by emigrating, in a world in which the rich countries became rich by exploiting the resources of the poor and in which they continue to dominate the trade in profitable resources, there will be no shortage of candidates for immigration, be it legal or otherwise.
Nelson, a Nigerian, asked for a job as a cleaner in the block where Pravda.Ru operates in central Lisbon. He explained that he had walked across the Sahara desert to Morocco and had paid 200 USD for a night crossing of the Straights of Gibraltar. He was one of the lucky ones. Many died during the land crossing of the Sahara and three drowned when they were pushed off the boat 300 metres from the shore. Nelson can swim.
In this world of the survival of the fittest, those who cannot swim, sink. It is a telling comment on social injustice on the threshold of the third millennium.
Timothy BANCROFT-HINCHEY PRAVDA.Ru