crime

   There is a conviction among many people in Spain that crime has risen spectacularly since the ending of the Franco dictatorship. Though the statistics indicate a considerable increase in reported crime to a peak around 1989–91, this evidence must be handled with considerable care. The apparent contrast between the relative safety of city streets during the Franco regime and the frequency of armed robberies (atracos) in the 1980s, conceals the fact that for most of the period of the dictatorship censorship of the media prevented the public from obtaining an accurate picture of crime statistics. In any case, the incidence of crime began to rise before Franco's death, and is partly attributable to the increasing social and economic pressures associated with the ending of the boom around 1973 to 1974, and the growing drug problem: in 1990, the head of the prison service estimated that half those in prison were there because of drug-related offences.
   Drug dependency is probably one of the main explanations for the huge increase in the type of crime most likely to affect public perceptions: muggings and armed robberies. Between 1980 and 1985, according to figures from the Ministry of Justice and the Interior, reported crimes in this category rose two and a half times, from 9,918 to 27,887. There was a further increase of the same order to a peak of 71,602 in 1990, but this figure was halved to 35,170 by 1995. Over approximately the same period (1984–94), arrests for drug trafficking almost trebled, from 11,446 to 31,703, and seizures of drug consignments quadrupled, from 6,939 to 28,301. The other type of crime which directly affects the public is car theft, which has risen from its already high 1980 level. In the period 1980 to 1985, there was an increase of 30 percent in car theft, from 91,548 to 118,975, and a further 14 percent increase to 135,559 by 1990. The 1995 figure, however, shows a substantial decrease of 27 percent, to 98,847.
   Though these figures suggest a substantial improvement during the period 1990 to 1995, caution is needed in interpreting the statistics because they reflect only reported crime. Police figures for 1995 suggest that the number of armed robberies may be more than double the figure quoted above. It is probable that in Spain there is a higher degree of reluctance in the population to report crime than there is in Britain, owing to the legacy of distrust created by heavy-handed policing in Franco's day, which has not entirely disappeared. Even allowing for this, however, the fact that the reported crime rate in Spain in 1990 was less than a third of that for England and Wales provides some grounds for claiming that the overall picture is relatively favourable. The deterioration perceived by the general population refers principally to urban-based and drug-related offences such as armed robbery and car theft, and the increase in economic crime such as fraud and embezzlement. But 88 percent of urban crime in 1995 was against property, and only 1.7 percent against the person. Crime is relatively infrequent in rural areas, and even the pessimistic estimates given by police figures show that overall crime rates have fallen by 7 percent between 1992 and 1995.
   Further reading
   - Hooper, J. (1995) The New Spaniards, Harmondsworth: Penguin (chapters 15 and 16 give a concise and balanced account of law and order issues).
   EAMONN RODGERS

Encyclopedia of contemporary Spanish culture. 2013.

Synonyms:
, , (especially against human law), / , , , , , , (of a violent or high-handed nature)


Look at other dictionaries:

  • crime — [ krim ] n. m. • 1160; lat. crimen « accusation » 1 ♦ Sens large Manquement très grave à la morale, à la loi. ⇒ attentat, 1. délit, faute, 1. forfait , infraction, 3. mal, péché. Crime contre nature. « L intérêt que l on accuse de tous nos crimes …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • crime — / krīm/ n [Middle French, from Latin crimen fault, accusation, crime] 1: conduct that is prohibited and has a specific punishment (as incarceration or fine) prescribed by public law compare delict, tort 2: an offense against public law …   Law dictionary

  • crime — W2S2 [kraım] n [Date: 1200 1300; : Latin; Origin: crimen judgment, accusation, crime ] 1.) [U] illegal activities in general ▪ We moved here ten years ago because there was very little crime. ▪ Women commit far less crime than men. ▪ Police… …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • crime — CRIME. s. m. Mauvaise action que les lois punissent. Crime capital. Grand crime. Crime atroce, détestable. Crime énorme. Crime inouï, noir, irrémissible. Commettre, faire un crime. Punir un crime. Pardonner un crime. Abolir un crime. L abolition… …   Dictionnaire de l'Académie Française 1798

  • crime — CRIME. s. m. Action meschante & punissable par les loix. Crime capital. grand crime. crime atroce, detestable. crime enorme. crime inoüi, noir, irremissible. commettre, faire un crime. faire un crime à quelqu un de quelque chose, pour dire,… …   Dictionnaire de l'Académie française

  • crime — [ kraım ] noun *** 1. ) count an illegal activity or action: commit a crime (=do something illegal): She was unaware that she had committed a crime. the scene of a crime (=where it happened): There were no apparent clues at the scene of the crime …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • crime — [kraɪm] noun LAW 1. [countable] a dishonest or immoral action that can be punished by law: • Insider trading is a crime here and in the U.S. 2. [uncountable] illegal activities in general: • We moved here ten years ago because there was very… …   Financial and business terms

  • Crime — (kr[imac]m), n. [F. crime, fr. L. crimen judicial decision, that which is subjected to such a decision, charge, fault, crime, fr. the root of cernere to decide judicially. See {Certain}.] 1. Any violation of law, either divine or human; an… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Crime — 〈[kraım] m. 6 oder n. 15〉 I 〈zählb.〉 Verbrechen, Gewalttat II 〈unz.; Sammelbez. für〉 Kriminalität; →a. Sex and Crime [engl.] * * * Crime [kra̮im ], das; s [engl. crime < afrz. crime < lat. crimen = Verbrechen]: engl. Bez. für: Verbrechen,… …   Universal-Lexikon

  • crime — Crime, et cas qu on a commis, Crimen. Un crime pour lequel y a peine de mort, ou d infamie, Capitale facinus, vel crimen. Crime de lese majesté, Perduellio. Pour certain crime ou cas, Certo nomine maleficij. Commettre un crime, ou faire une faute …   Thresor de la langue françoyse

  • crime — mid 13c., sinfulness, from O.Fr. crimne (12c., Mod.Fr. crime), from L. crimen (gen. criminis) charge, indictment, accusation; crime, fault, offense, perhaps from cernere to decide, to sift (see CRISIS (Cf. crisis)). But Klein (citing Brugmann)… …   Etymology dictionary

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