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A restaurant in Marbella where a recent shooting incident happened. Josele
Four shootings in a month: this is Marbella's Achilles heel
Crime

Four shootings in a month: this is Marbella's Achilles heel

Crime rates in the town on the western strip of the Costa del Sol are worrying local residents as well as people working in the tourism and luxury sectors

María Albarral

Marbella

Thursday, 28 March 2024, 06:51

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Marbella has a lot to offer which is why it is ranked among the world's top tourist destinations as well as being a sought-after place to settle and live, but one particular point tarnishes its crown and that is safety.

Although the latest crime figures for Spain for the third quarter of 2023 reflect a drop of 7.4 per cent, the reality is that in 2022 Marbella was one of the most dangerous municipalities of more than 100,000 inhabitants in the country. In February of this year alone there were four shootings that shook the town’s residents.

Crime and waves of violence are becoming Marbella's 'Achilles heel'. The population has grown by 6.7 per cent in the last five years according to data from Spain’s INE national statistics institute as of 2023 and is expected to continue to increase. However, security reinforcements are not keeping pace and the number of inhabitants doubles in summer.

This problem is worrying local residents and those who work in the tourism and luxury sectors, as one of Marbella's main attractions is undoubtedly its position in the luxury market and without security this niche is in decline.

The Leading Property Agents of Spain (LPA) recently met with the councillor responsible for this area, José Eduardo Díaz, and the head of the Local Police force, Javier Martín, to tell them first-hand of the concerns of the property sector in the area, with particular attention to the residential areas that have been the most affected by the recent spate of burglaries.

Mafias

"The property sector has a lot of weight on the Costa del Sol and, specifically, the Marbella brand concerns us, not only for the residents, which is important in itself, but also for future clients," said José Carlos León, president of the LPA.

"Those of us who live here in Marbella need to have security and peace of mind with sufficient resources, not only in the high season, but also in the low season, and that all those investors who come from abroad, who are looking for a guarantee in every sense, have it," he said, adding that "there are destinations where the client detects that there is a security problem, emigrates to another place and ends up not coming back.

Paradoxically, it is the high-end property sector that attracts mafias to the town often through the 'Golden Visa' scheme. An investment of more than 500,000 euros in a property in Spain offers the buyer the possibility of applying for this visa which gives them residency. Drug trafficking is another risk factor in Marbella as there are several gangs operating in the town.

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