Crime increased on the Costa del Sol and in Malaga province last year, according to Interior Ministry figures published by the national government this week. In the annual report, unveiled by Interior Minister, Juan Ignacio Zoido, there were 78,365 criminal offences - non-penal and penal- in the province in 2016, an increase of 2.7 per cent on the previous year.
Much of the blame for the big increase, which goes against the national trend, is being put down to a surge in the number of break-ins, which is the type of crime that grew the most in 2016. There were 13 per cent more burglaries in the area in 2016, when numbers rose to 4,259, compared to 3,768 in 2015. In other words, there are eleven break-ins at homes across Malaga province every day.
There was a significant increase of 6.8 per cent in crime related to drug trafficking, and violent robbery rose by 4.1 per cent. The number of violent deaths rose as well, although the total amount is small, with 19 acts of intentional homicide (murders or violent manslaughter) in 2016, up two on 2015. There were also 746 more reported cases of damage to property in 2016, a year-on-year increase of 10.6 per cent.
Across the Costa del Sol, Marbella saw the most striking rise in crime. The number of reported criminal offences in the town rose 17.5 per cent in 2016, largely due to an increase in damage to property of almost 46 per cent, up from 934 to 1,363 in the year, and an increase in theft of 21 per cent.
In terms of other local towns featuring in the statistics, which covers information collected from National Police, Guardia Civil, as well as town-hall-controlled local police, Estepona and Vélez-Málaga also saw a larger than average rise in crime in 2016 when compared to the previous year, with the amount increasing by 4.3 per cent and 3.8 per cent respectively.
In contrast, the biggest fall in reported crime was in Benalmádena, with a decline of 11.4 per cent, and in Fuengirola, with a 10.2 per cent drop. In Malaga city, overall crime fell as well by 1.2 per cent. While in Mijas and Torremolinos, the year-on-year crime rate was stable.
In Andalucía, crime is down
This increase in the amount of crime in Malaga province bucks the trend in Andalucía overall. Presenting the data, Juan Ignacio Zoido announced that the region had the lowest crime rate in 12 years and saw a fall of 1.5 per cent on 2015.
Malaga is the Andalusian province where crime rose most in 2016. Only Huelva province saw a similar increase, with 2.3 per cent.
In the remaining six of the eight provinces that make up Andalucía, the crime rate fell or stayed stable. Cadiz had most to be happy about, seeing a seven per cent fall in the number of recorded offences there in 2016, followed by Cordoba with a 6.1 per cent drop, Seville with minus 2.4 per cent and Jaén at minus 2.3 per cent. Almeria and Granada saw no real change in their crime levels.