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Crime & Safety

Malaga - Crime & Safety


Many expats choose to emigrate to Malaga to avoid apparently rising crime figures in their home countries. While it is true that violent crime is still relatively uncommon in Spain, as a large and rather wealthy city, crime still exists in Malaga, and the usual precautions one would take are as important here as anywhere else.

The Costa del Sol has certain notoriety as a hideout for criminals from other, particularly European, countries, and is sometimes known as the Costa del Crime. British and Spanish police often work together, asking the expat community to provide evidence on known criminals living in the area, usually with a degree of success. The most recent campaign uncovered three of the British Police's most wanted.

For most residents, any unfortunate brush with crime will tend to be of a less violent nature, theft of personal items being the most likely. Many common sense actions can help lower this risk, such as not leaving bags unattended in public places or on beaches, not leaving valuables on show in cars, and making sure windows and doors and securely locked at home.

Organised crime is an increasing problem in Spain, particularly in coastal areas such as Malaga. Organised gangs of varying nationalities can be responsible for anything from protection rackets, to 'drive-by' bag snatching where a motorcycle rider will grab the bag of a pedestrian. Again, simple precuations such as keeping bags away from the roadside, can lessen this risk.

It is also important to be on guard in busy shopping areas where pickpockets will exploit the slightest opportunity to steal wallets, purses or bags.

Should you be unfortunate enough to fall victim to a crime, the main emergency number is 112, where you will be directed to the relevant emergency service.

You can also call the relevant emergency service direct using the following numbers:

National Police (to report a crime) 091

Local Police (for local issues, noise etc) 092

Ambulance 061

Guardia Civil (for issues outside the urban area) 062

Fire Service 080


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