Spain - Costa Blanca Discussion Forum

Discussions regarding holidays in the Costa Blanca.
We were in Benidorm last year and at the train station a group of pickpockets targeted us after letting them know we had seen there interest in us and putting my hand on my wallet we thought that was it but as we were getting on the train a lady shouted at my wife that one had his hand going in her bag and words to the effect of don't do that please !! did send them running. The next day we met another man that had his wallet stolen at the station the same day and then had to spend most of the day with police and sorting out the credit cards. It didn't leave us with much longing to go back. There is something wrong when criminals are not punished so they do not want to do it again.
Please can you say why the police seem so powerless?

The police are just as exasperated when they spend time filling in the reports and the law allows the perpetrators of certain crimes to walk away with little punishment.
For example:
1. Prostitution in Spain is neither legal nor illegal, it sits in a legal vacuum within Spanish law and it's the pimps who get punished because profiteering from the sale of sex is illegal. The law forbids the ‘abusing of a position of power' and the ‘forcing of someone into prostitution', a conviction for which carries a prison sentence.
When these women have been forced into prostitution, the prostitutes themselves are classed as a victim and especially if they are victims of human trafficking.
There is nothing in the Spanish penal code about prostitution until you get to chapter 5, article 187 and the offences relating to prostitution and corruption of minors, which are very serious offences if they involve minors under the age of 13 years old.

Spain had the chance in 2007 to legalise prostitution and regulate it, and they didn't because they couldn't come to an agreement and some felt it encroached too far into other laws and ' A woman's right to do what she want with her body', so it still remains in legal limbo and the discreet clubs known as 'Clubes de Alterne' continue.
It has been left to the local town halls to deal with the ever rising problem of prostitutes and in Barcelona they are now starting to fine them, but really it's a measure to drive them out of the tourist areas and it's not addressing the problem. Alicante Town Hall recently approved a new law to ban street prostitution and impose fines of up to €3,000 for cases of sex in public.

2. Pick pocketing (without any violence) is classed as a misdemeanour or fault if the amount taken is less than €400, and it only becomes a crime of theft if they make further faults within a year (4 in total) and the accumulative amount is above €400.
Pick pocketing becomes a crime of theft when there is any form of violence or intimidation, regardless of the amount involved.
The punishment between a fault and a crime ranges from a small fine or community work and imprisonment.

WITHOUT violence and amount less than €400 = A fault
WITHOUT violence and amount €400+ = A crime
WITH any kind of violence or intimidation (regardless of the amount) = ALWAYS A CRIME. (and that includes a push/shove or a tug on your bag strap)

3. The pea men are illegally street gambling and committing deception/fraud. These tricksters are very clever and any money they accumulate is quickly passed through several hands and within a matter of minutes the money can be a mile down the street.
This is to make sure they have less than €400 when they empty their pockets and they will only be punished for a fault.
These tricksters are usually fined €200 for a fault and they can earn that back within a matter of less than an hour"¦In Barcelona the minimum bet is 50 euros.
If you the aggrieved punter take these tricksters to court, there's a good chance that you will also be fined for partaking in illegal street gambling, so not many people come forward.

There's also a distinction between a robbery (Robo) and a burglary (Hurto)"¦..
Simply put, if someone steals your property by forcing a door or the locks, using counterfeit keys including electronic card keys or keys which have been lost or stolen, smashing windows, disabling alarms or climbing over your wall, "¦.in other words using any kind of force, it is ‘Robo'
Robo is punishable by a prison sentence of between 1 & 3 years and if there is any violence or intimidation involved the sentence is between 2 & 5 years.
If you leave the door open whilst you're busy in the garden and the person walks in and steals your prized vase, it is a ‘Hurto' and again if the property stolen is less than €400 it is classed as a misdemeanour/fault and the penalty for a Hurto is much lower than Robo.

I read about a case where a Spanish farmer had crates of oranges stacked up in his field waiting for the transport to arrive the next day and take them to the buyer.
During the night someone drove his van into the field and he was caught ‘red handed' stealing the oranges. The crime was classed it as a Hurto because the field had no fences, walls or locks, and the thief was sentenced to a paltry fine of €120 to be paid in instalments and he was released after a few hours.
The farmer wasn't too pleased because at the time the Valencian oranges had a value of 0.165 euros per kg and it would take more than 2.41 tons of oranges to be worth €400"¦.. the fact that the man couldn't steal enough oranges to fit the criteria of the crime of theft (€400 worth), should make no difference, but alas it does in Spanish law.

Spain has been swamped with Romanians because those in power were not wise enough to put into place restrictions regarding the numbers allowed into the country when these countries (Romania & Bulgaria) first joined the EU, and Spain has now had to go back to the EU and convince them due to the current high unemployment rate and Spain as a country being one step away from dropping into the bankrupt mire, to grant Spain the right to control any future immigrants from Romania, which in itself is against the principle of free movement between the member states.
The number of Romanians in Spain has risen from 388,000 in 2006 to 823,000 in 2010.

so roughly the same as the UK,or most other nations,legal grey areas surrounding crimes against property or the person exist the world over and while i'm against immigration from eastern europe in all forms i can't see how spain has problems relating to it on the scale the UK has,and parts of germany and france are even worse,but we still happily go there!

I just don't really see the point of this thread anymore sanji,quoting legal statutes and immigration figures doesn't seem that relevant to how good or bad benidorm is as a place to go.

so-called toothless police/courts are not an exclusively spanish phenomenon,it's just one more symptom of the liberal,woolly world in which we are all expected to happily live,with the EU being the best,or indeed worst example.
what benidorm is like NOW is 1000% more important than in previous years,surely?

Sam, that is the whole point....A few years ago you wouldn't have seen Romanian prostitutes on the streets in town pestering the tourists and lifting their wallets, you would have occasionally heard about petty crimes, especially on market days, seen the few beggars, but not like we are hearing now and stooping so low to rob from the disabled and crack an old woman over the head with a brick.

I could say if you go to Barcelona it's far worse, but that would be irrelevant when we are talking about Benidorm, and unlike for example Barcelona or Valencia, Benidorm's existence has depended heavily on the British tourists and especially the mature winter long stayers who help to keep Benidorm a 12 month resort, otherwise it would go back growing vegetables and catching sardines.

TBH Sam, you sound just like me a few years ago, when I have gone to Beni and heard stories about pickpockets taking advantage of tanked up Brits, and we have walked the length and breath of Benidorm, as well as being in the Sierra Helada mountains and nothing has happed to us.
I just wish those people who could do something about it, would get their heads out of the sand and accept that Benidorm has changed, and when victims post anywhere on the internet, that those with a vested interest would not try and make excuses or try and brush it under the carpet.

Yes, it has to be kept in perspective, but don't erase these things as though they are not happening because to be forewarned is to be forearmed, otherwise it might be somebody else's grandmother next week.
Maybe when people start voting with their feet and their money, someone might listen.?

I'm truly pleased that you had a good time, but personally I thought you came into the thread dissing down the previous posters, whose main objective was to warn people, and I could quite understand why the regulars think the police are not doing their job.
Quoting the Spanish penal laws applies to the whole of Spain, not just Benidorm and it wasn't to say Benidorm is any better or worse than other resorts, it was to explain why we continue to see the same faces year after year, and why Spain is attracting prostitutes by leaving the ‘profession' in a legal limbo.

didn't see one single prostitute on the streets mate,not one in 11 nights,never have,loads of my mates go yearly too,some more than once a year and they never mention them either,and lads talk about such things a lot!

The legal standing is irrelevant i reckon,legal,illegal,tolerated,not tolerated,the sex trade will ALWAYS exist and will ALWAYS have a seedier,more crime ridden side,look at Holland,have you seen what happens in the 'dam away from the legalised brothels,and what about the rampant drugs and violence you hear of in places like magaluf,yet again people flock there and in the most part never see a single incident.

im not purely trying to diss posters,i have an opinion and recent experience of the place,ive got the right to post the fact,and my opinion is that it's a load of worrying about nothing,spanish law is no different to anywhere else,name one country where the laws suit all and are 100% effective,i'll be waiting a long time for that reply.....
Well, I think I'll leave it at that. ;)

well, I enjoyed reading sanji's post, statistics and all, because I care about Benidorm and want to understand what is going on, so I can better defend Benidorm's reputation to it's many uneducated detractors.

I'm going back to Benidorm in a few weeks, and will not be put off having a good time by the lowlife, but I'll have an extra eye on them all the same.

and if I don't see any, I will be delighted to report back on here and spread the good news.
:D :cheers :tup
which was my exact intention also,why highlight such rare negatives when they could happen anywhere,probably more likely to get mugged or dipped on the train to gatwick.

Benidorm is what it is,and what it is is brilliant
An article in this week's Costa Blanca News reveals some facts and figures from the National Police in Benidorm, indicating that the number of reported crimes has dropped to levels not seen since 2004, while robbery with violence has shown a slight increase:

David :wave
Im not being smug, but why do people carry all their money or a lot of money when out.... It would be much safer to pay for a safe where you are staying. When I go out, I just carry the money that I know I will need. If I see something in a shop and dont have enough money with me, I make a note of where the shop is and buy it another day.
I agree Sunshine2 it's just common sense.
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