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Drug traffickers load fuel onto a boat in La Duquesa port in broad daylight.
Drug traffickers load fuel onto a boat in La Duquesa port in broad daylight. / SUR

Crime still finds a way around the lockdown

  • Organised criminal gangs are adapting to this new reality. Police have also had to respond to an increase in domestic violence

The lockdown in Spain, and the resulting obligation to stay at home is considerably modifying the pattern of criminal behaviour across the country.

Predictably, one of the areas that has changed most as a result of the state of alert is traffic: the lockdown has eliminated hundreds of thousands of daily trips in vehicles. In addition, the closure of bars has virtually stopped drink-driving offences.

But not all types of crime have been going down. According to the experts consulted by SUR, burglaries are on the rise on industrial estates such as the Guadalhorce. Reduced presence, and therefore surveillance, in these areas has led organised gangs to redouble their efforts in targetting industrial warehouses and storage facilities.

The same thing is happening with the supermarkets, which in the first days of the pandemic have registered markedly increased sales - something reflected in the amount of money stored in their safes.

Reduced opportunity

Overall, however, according to Professor of Criminal Law and Criminology, José Becerra, opportunity, which is the main catalyst for crime, has reduced significantly overall: "During the state of alarm, opportunity has been shifting."

As a result, he predicts a steep decline in burglaries on remote homes and housing estates. "Even if there are areas where foreigners live that have been deserted, the police are on the streets and it's very easy for them now to spot a suspicious vehicle or a passer-by that catches their attention."

Police tracking this type of gang now have one factor in their favour these days: increased roadblocks and the ability of the authorities to ask people to identify and justify where they are going.

Domestic violence

Confinement also increases the risk for victims of gender-based violence. It affects both women who have already suffered an episode of abuse and those who are at a critical point in their relationship that could lead to a situation of risk.

In order to enable women to notify the authorities safely, the ministry of Equality has announced the implementation of a reporting system similar to the 016 phone number but using instant messaging, so that they can be processed without alerting the alleged abuser (682916136 / 682508507).

In addition, the Andalusian Women's Institute and all the regional victim support services have stepped up their assistance.

Cybercriminals

Confinement doesn't only affect physical crimes, though. Digital ones are also on the up.

These days, while there are more people working from home (with less security systems than those offered by office networks), their company can become much more vulnerable to cyber attacks.