Tensions simmering in Barcelona
In Barcelona concern about safety and security is growing, with cases of armed robbery having risen by around 28 percent since 2016. People are also worried about growing drug consumption, poverty and unemployment in the suburbs, rising immigration as well as the eight million tourists that flood the city every year. Spain's media are doubtful at Barcelona's chances of bringing the problems under control.
Politicians have utterly failed the city
El Mundo takes the left-wing mayor Ada Colau to task:
“The city council has misjudged the situation and is trying to tackle the problem with empty slogans. Ada Colau has become notorious for showing sympathy with collectives that are breaking the law: squatters or street hawkers whom she sees as victims of an immigration law that doesn't allow immigrants to work. ... Cities like New York have overcome situations much more difficult than the one in the Catalan capital with a skillful combination of new policing methods and political will. In Barcelona the security system is increasingly ineffective and there is no sign of the political situation improving.”
Concerted action needed
El Periódico de Catalunya is also worried:
“The problem cannot simply be solved with more police. It calls for a comprehensive response, and a social agenda in particular. Improved support of minority groups is certainly more effective than intensified policing. Work also needs to be done in the justice system, in particular when it comes to repeat offenders. In 90 percent of cases the perpetrators do not end up in prison because the judges do not put them in custody: so they quickly end up on the streets again, which reinforces the impression of impunity. ... Restraining orders can also be helpful, as has been shown with pickpockets in the metro. ... If we want to reverse this trend, we must fight the problem in all its complexity.”