Buying a house and living in Spain has been seen as "living the dream" for many years now. Torrevieja situated on the south of Spain just south of Alicante, is one of the more popular places to buy property as a holiday home, or to move out and live there. But for while now Torrevieja has been seen as a crime black spot, with many instances reported every day. One of the challenges the Spanish police had, was their policing budget as it is based on how many residents live in their area.
As many people holidaying in the area do not register as a resident, they ended up with not enough police to cover the influx of regular holiday homeowners. Add to this there is the language problem, as many think that even the police should be proficient in English. A lot of crime occurred from illegal immigrants from North Africa, where the crime was committed in some cases just to say alive, not necessary the Spanish, with addresses and police records. It is not hard to see that the local police had a challenge on their hands. But things now have moved on. In 2004 it was reported that crime had been reduced by an amazing 40%, this has been achieved by introducing local "neighbourhood watch" schemes like they have in the UK.
Stickers were produced and put on everyone's windows and when anyone saw anything suspicious, it was then communicated to the local police. The police would also issue details say on stolen cars and find that residents were finding the cars on their behalf, reducing their workload. If you are buying a new house or live next to new houses, many say that crime drops when the builders go away. That doesn't mean that the builders are stealing but only that building sites in themselves attract thieves.
Basic security measures should be done whilst living in Spain, protect your passports, credit cards and driving license. Invest in a wall safe and have this hidden. Most thieves are opportunists or look for the weakest target. Have dead lock doors and then use the dead lock, some dont turn the key the second time. Leave a key with a trusted neighbour, as locksmith call outs can be expensive; to foreigners anyway. If this is your holiday home then do not personalise it, make sure everything is replaceable.
Leave things around the house or property that makes it look like someone is at home or is about to be. Finally, even with all this bad news, thousands live in Torrevieja and would not live anywhere else, and by taking some simple precautions you maybe can "live your dream". .
By: Mark Flanighan