Crime on the Playa de Palma dropped last summer thanks to police reinforcements, according to the report presented yesterday by city councillor José Manuel Sierra, who is in charge of security. He said that the reinforcements consisted of three officers, a sergeant and 41 policemen and women, whose “visiting card had been dialogue and information.” He also said that local traders and neighbours had collaborated in the campaign. One of the chief objectives of the campaign in the Playa de Palma was to get rid of the trileros, the specialists in the shell and pea game and according to Sierra, the number of cases dropped by nearly 38 per cent, compared to summer 2001, and takings were down by 60 per cent. As to traffic, the number of complaints filed rose by 25 per cent and the permanent presence of a tow car in the area also helped reduce the most frequent problems. The number of administrative cases of bars and shops occupying the pavements rose by 600 per cent from 11 to 78, the report said. Street vendors generate many complaints from legal traders, and the police carried out 2'706 controls in the streets and shops of the Playa de Palma, 19 per cent more than the previous year. The number of touts handing out publicity in the streets dropped by 65 per cent thanks to a continued police presence and the high fines which they can now impose for this activity, which most tourists find annoying. Only seven bars were reported for playing music outside the set hours, compared to 45 in the summer of 2001, and 16 estalishments were closed, compared to 21 the previous summer. Sierra said that the campaign had been positive and praised the joint collaboration between the Local and National police, and the support of hoteliers and residents of the Playa de Palma. Ana Rodríguez, the spokeswoman for the Playa de Palma residents, praised the raised awareness of the police and the conscientious work of 85 per cent of the force, although she said that there were complaints about the remaining 15 per cent “who pay more attention to handing out parking fines than keeping an eye out for crime.” She blamed the massive arrival of immigrants from eastern Europe “who come here exclusively to rob” for the lack of tranquility in the area. “We will not recover peace and quiet until there is a law which says that anyone who steals a wallet will be jailed for a year,” Rodriguez said. Pedro Cabrer, the spokesman of the hoteliers, agreed with this opinion, and commenting on the fight against delinquency, he pointed out that there were people who had been arrested 100 times.

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