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Where in Spain you are most likely to have your car stolen

Thieves steal 120 cars a day in Spain, the third highest rate in the EU. Here are the Spanish cities where you definitely have to double-check you’ve locked your car and the vehicle models crime gangs usually go for.

Where in Spain you are most likely to have your car stolen
Photos: Deposit Photos

There’s no denying that Spain is a safe country by global standards.

In a Eurostat crime study of 41 European countries, Spain came in 34th position for homicides, 21st place for sexual violence and 31st when it came to all types of robberies.

However, when it comes to car theft in the EU, Spain comes in at a rather disappointing third position behind Italy and the UK.

More than 40,000 cars were stolen in Spain in 2017, according to the country’s Interior Ministry.

The Spanish Association of Insurers and Reinsurers (UNESPA) calculated that that figure was even higher in 2016 – 155,000 vehicles stolen – equating to 425 car thefts a day.

According to reports in the Spanish press, crime gangs who sell the vehicles overseas or take them apart before selling the parts are responsible for much of this type of crime.

Their modus operandi is becoming increasingly cunning as well, as in the case of a syndicate who stole €4.5 million worth in vehicles by tracking the drivers with a GPS and using the same locator and crane to audaciously steal the vehicles back again from the police depot when Civil Guard officers had retrieved them.

So where in Spain are you most likely to have your car stolen?

Spain’s capital Madrid is by far the city with the worst car theft rate in the country, accounting for 33 percent of all stolen cars in 2017 according to government data.

The second city where the chances of having your car stolen are highest is Barcelona with 13 percent, but it’s closely followed by Malaga in third place, a surprising entry considering the southern city is Spain’s 6th most populated city.

This may be explained by its proximity to Marbella, a city renowned for its super-rich foreigners and the prevalence of luxury car theft.

Other cities where car theft is rife according to Interior Ministry data are Murcia (7 percent), Cádiz (7 percent), Sevilla (4 percent), Córdoba (4 percent) and Palma de Mallorca/Balearic Islands (3 percent).

Map: The Royal Automobile Club of Spain (RACE)

The absence of Valencia from the government’s car theft list may seem surprising to some, but UNESPA data suggests that the eastern coastal city is also greatly affected with more than 11,000 cars stolen in 2016.

The data from different studies does however match up when it comes to showcasing how Spain’s northern cities, those in the country’s interior and the Canary Islands are not as badly affected by this type of felony. 

Which car types and brands are the most stolen in Spain?

The latest government data points to SUVs as the vehicle category that thieves prey on the most, making up 60 percent of attempted car robberies in Spain in 2017.

Sedans and compact premium vehicles accounted for the other 40 percent.

In terms of the actual car brands and models that have been stolen the most, UNESPA’s study ranked Citroen Xsara, the Seat Ibiza, VW Golf, Seat León and BMW 3 series as the main ‘victims’ in 2016.

These are some of the most widely sold cars in Spain, which could partly account for their theft prevalence and the high demand for their car parts, stolen or otherwise.

Although large SUVs are car thieves' primary target, they tend to be stored in safer locations and have more complex security measures that impede their theft. 



Spanish mother jailed for falsely accusing ex-husband of child abuse

A Spanish court has jailed a woman for five years for repeatedly filing false reports about her ex-husband sexually abusing their daughter.

Spanish mother jailed for falsely accusing ex-husband of child abuse

According to El Mundo daily, the sentence was unprecedented in Spain.

In a ruling handed down by a court in the southern city of Granada which was seen by AFP on Wednesday, the unnamed woman was convicted of filing false allegations, offences against moral integrity and abandonment of parental responsibility.

She was also ordered to pay €40,000 ($42,000) each to the child and her father for the harm caused by her unfounded allegations, which were aimed at securing sole custody of her daughter, now nine.

The court also took away the mother’s parental responsibility for 10 years on grounds she posed “a threat to (her daughter’s) development”, according to court documents dated Monday.

The woman had filed eight reports to the police and the courts over a two-year period, accusing her husband of abuse and on one occasion rape as they were in the throes of getting divorced.

She also took her daughter to be examined by doctors and psychologists on 10 separate occasions.

None of them ever found any evidence of the alleged abuse.

The ongoing gynaecological and psychological examinations had an impact on the child’s “psychological stability and her performance at school”, according to the court documents.

The aim was to “obtain the sole and exclusive custody” of their daughter.

The sentence, which can be appealed, described the mother as a person with a predisposition for “lying” who displayed “shameless cynicism” and “cunning malice with obsessive overtones”.

The couple married in 2010 and had a daughter in 2012. But they split up in 2017 and the problems began a year later when the father, an English teacher, requested joint custody.

After his ex-wife began filing the false allegations against him, he lost most of his students along with his “emotion stability, peace of mind and sense of calm”, the court found.

“It’s like being buried alive,” he told El Mundo.

“It’s trying to kill someone without laying a finger on them… accusing them of the vilest, worst thing that a human being can do: harming your own daughter.”