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Foreigners commit less serious crimes and have fewer permits

BarcelonaLast year in Catalonia, 123,000 crimes were solved. From theft to murder, through fraud, sexual assault and robbery. According to the Mossos d’Esquadra data to which this newspaper has had access, 55,419 of these crimes were committed by foreigners and 68,555 perpetrators were indigenous. Do immigrants commit more crimes? Last year, people with Spanish nationality committed 13,136 more. In 2022, almost 16,000 more, and in 2021 almost 17,500 more. Obviously, to analyze this data it is important to take the percentages into account. Last year, 42% of the people reported were immigrants, while 58% were natives. The foreign population in Catalonia represents 16% of the population. Are they 16% and commit 42% of crimes? Yes, it is, but this data has a context.

Comparison of natives and foreigners

Data for 2022 and 2023 in the area of ​​Catalonia

Reported persons

As a percentage of the total, data from 2023

Average sentence

Data from 2022

Crimes committed

Total annual figure by group, 2023 data

Penitentiary permits

Number of permits enjoyed by each prisoner,

2022 data

Reported persons

As a percentage of the total, data from 2023

Penitentiary permits

Number of permits enjoyed by each prisoner,

2022 data

Average sentence

Data from 2022

Crimes committed

Total annual figure by group, 2023 data

Reported persons

As a percentage of the total, data from 2023

Penitentiary permits

Number of permits enjoyed by each prisoner,

2022 data

Average sentence

Data from 2022

Crimes committed

Total annual figure by group, 2023 data

The various police sources consulted by this newspaper insist on taking into account several variables. One of them is age. Two out of three crimes (63%) are committed by people aged between 20 and 44. Only 27% of the native population is in this age group, while 54% of the foreign population is. Last year, foreign perpetrators between the ages of 20 and 44 committed 52% of crimes. The percentage remains unfavorable, but it is no longer 16%: immigrants represented 30% of the population in this age group and committed 52% of the crimes. Another variable is the type of crime and its severity and associated violence. In 2023, according to the data obtained by the ARA, 80% of crimes in Catalonia were against property. In other words, thefts, scams and robberies, which can be with violence and intimidation. These are, above all, the crimes most committed by foreigners. In fact, more than one police source comments that of all those arrested in one day in Barcelona, ​​the majority are immigrants. Or that in the photographs of the “most frequent” foreigners predominate. The crimes committed are, for the most part, against property.

Crimes for which they have been convicted

As a percentage of the group’s total, data from 2023

Of all foreign prisoners in Catalonia, 43%, almost half, are serving sentences linked to property crimes. So do 41% of natives. Of the 4,049 immigrants who were in penitentiary centers in December last year, 1,723 were there, basically, to steal. “We are talking about economic capacity, the immigration law takes you out of the system,” points out Aliou Diallo, jurist, political scientist and social activist. Property crimes are the ones that best explain multi-recidivism. And who are repeat offenders? Who are the 25 people who were arrested almost 900 times in Barcelona last year? Police sources are clear: the vast majority of them are foreigners who live by occupying and who also live to commit crime. Many of them are drug addicts. Who are the 12 multi-recidivists from Calella? Police sources consulted by ARA explain that most of them are unaccompanied minors who arrived in 2019 with nothing. Neither family nor money, and that they were left destitute when they turned 18. “Now, they also live squatting and many of them are also drug addicts. Again, they live to commit crime,” the sources explain.

“These are crimes associated with vulnerability. And it is the closest crime, the one we see on the street, which creates the most impact,” points out Karlos Castilla, researcher at the Institute of Human Rights of Catalonia and professor at the UPF. Although they are not considered, criminally, crimes against people, in the hour of truth a break-in or the theft of a mobile phone while threatening you with a knife also affects people and is considered violent. However, we are talking about crimes “associated with poverty”, he says, in a society in which, he recalls, the average salary of workers of foreign origin is 24% lower. The two experts associate social exclusion with the fact that immigrants commit more of this type of crime. The ARA has not been able to access data linking the perpetrators of the crime with their per capita income.

In Catalan prisons there are more foreign inmates convicted of property crimes than Spanish. Specifically, 77 more. In other words, it is the most committed crime by a wide margin (remember, 80% of the total) and is committed more by foreigners than natives. This newspaper has had access to the crime data for 2023 in Barcelona, ​​just out of the oven, and they confirm this link between property crimes and poverty. 50,000 more people live in the Sarrià-Sant Gervasi district than in Ciutat Vella. Sarrià’s per capita income is practically double that of Ciutat Vella. However, in the latter district four times as many property crimes have been committed (43,000) than in Sarrià (10,000). 15% of the inhabitants of Ciutat Vella are immigrants, while in Sarrià they represent 6%.

Evolution of the prison population in Catalonia

Absolute figures, latest data for the month of December 2023

There are other crimes with greater associated violence that carry higher penalties. Prison data show that immigrants, by volume, commit more crimes, but this difference is not there for the most serious crimes. An indigenous person spends, on average, seven years in prison. A foreigner spends two years less in prison: on average, 4.8 years. Right now, in Catalan prisons there are more immigrants convicted of crimes against the heritage than nationals, but this is not the case for other more serious crimes. Of the total indigenous prisoners, 12.45% are in prison for a crime of homicide. In immigrants it is 9%. Of the national convicts, 10% are for gender violence. In the case of foreigners, it is 6.87%. The only category in which this is the other way around is in crimes linked to public health: 22.65% of foreigners are convicted, compared to 14.5% of nationals.

The photography of prisons

In Catalan prisons there are more foreign prisoners than natives. The percentage, however, is closer to 50%, since there are only 56 prisoners of difference. The foreign nationality most present in the prison is Moroccan (1,295), which is not surprising because it is also by far the most numerous in Catalonia with more than 200,000 people, almost 20% of the total number of foreigners. It is followed by the Colombian population (184), the Dominican (183), the Romanian (182), the Algerian (162) and the Albanian (144).

Again, the same question comes up. Foreigners are 16% of the population, but do they represent 50% of the prison population? Once again, sources from the Department of Justice of the Generalitat insist on taking into account all the variables. “The poorest go to prison,” points out a source who has been working in the prison services for decades. One is age: the average age of foreign prisoners (38 years) is in the middle of the age range in which most crimes are committed. They insist on taking into account the economic level, but also another variable that is strictly linked to it: the educational level. According to sources consulted by the ARA, 79% of Catalan prisoners have not finished their compulsory studies. According to data from the European Union, 38% of foreigners resident in Spain between the ages of 15 and 54 do not have ESO. There is also twice as many school dropouts among immigrant students as among native students. “If you don’t have compulsory education, you have less room to access a job and a greater risk of falling into poverty,” relates Diallo.

According to prison sources, the recidivism rate for foreigners is very similar to that of people born in Spain: 22.2% for the former and 20.4% for the latter. In 2014, however, 33% of arrested foreigners reoffended and in 10 years this figure has dropped by 10.8 points. Foreigners, therefore, tend to commit less serious crimes than natives and reoffend, practically the same. Now, prisoners with Spanish nationality have twice as many prison permits. “They end up eating all the pain, they have no contacts outside”, reflects the jurist. Several penitentiary sources agree: rooting is highly valued in order to grant permits.

The first attention

Rooting is also a key element for judges when assessing whether a detainee can be released on bail or should be remanded in custody to prevent a possible escape. Despite being convicted, usually, for more serious crimes, natives spend, on average, ten days less in pre-trial detention than foreigners. ARA has spoken to lawyers on duty in the Barcelona area, who are usually the ones who provide first aid to detainees who do not have a lawyer of their own. Most, they say, are foreigners because they can’t afford a lawyer. This is the first step on a path that usually has more obstacles for immigrants. “Many do not trust us. The other day one said to me: “Why do you want to help me? What do you want in return?”, recalls a lawyer.

This is a “serious” problem to defend, because they “don’t tell the truth”. “They lie to us even if they are innocent,” he points out. “Deep down, they are afraid,” he concludes. Having confidence in your lawyer and that he has all the information, remember, is key to not falling directly into a preventive prison. And if they are released, another problem arises: many do not show up for statements, or do not attend trials, which is why they have to face new cases, these for obstruction of justice, and they have even more antecedents.

2024-02-10 07:00:08
#Foreigners #commit #crimes #permits

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