Shostack + Friends Blog Archive


Crime in Barcelona

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While having a wonderful time in Barcelona, I took the metro a fair amount. Over the course of 8 days, I saw 2 turnstile jumpers, (40€ fine) 3 smokers (30€ fine) and didn’t see as one friend got pick-pocketed (reported fine, one beating).

So which crime annoyed me most? The apparently worthless invasion of privacy.

There were cameras everywhere. They seemed to have no deterrent effect whatsoever. Now, maybe crime was really rampant before they put the cameras in. Maybe they’re being used to track down criminals. It’s hard to judge. But my Catalan friends say that the crime has been like this for a long time.

Someone should come up with a pithy quip about those who trade privacy for a little promised security.

Photo: Amlwch to magor.

6 comments on "Crime in Barcelona"

  • Nicko says:

    Someone should come up with a pithy quip about those who trade privacy for a little promised security.
    How about “Those who trade privacy for a little promised security will probably end up with neither, and neither will anyone else”?

  • Andy says:

    It’s not a trade; it’s a debt relationship. The loss of privacy is immediate; the reduction in crime happens over time. I think an appropriately pithy quote should reflect this. Something like “A loan of security upon the collateral of privacy always ends in default.”

  • SalvadorLF says:

    ??????, ? ? ???? ????? ??????? ?? ?????? ?? ?? ? ????? ?????????? ??? – ???????? ? ????????. ? ???????, ??? ???? ???????? ????? ?? ????????????? ??????????.

  • wordman says:

    Having seen the street crime in Barcelona, I always wondered what really _would_ work as a deterrent. As an example, suppose you had civilian “decoys” walking around with packs intended to be stolen, filled with die packs or worse. Would that decrease street crime? If so, how long would it take? if not, why not?

  • Adam says:

    Wordman, it’s all about incentives and costs. For the criminal, that likelihood of being caught and then punished. For the police, it’s about which is more work and risk: catching a pickpocket or a ticket jumper? There were lots of cops checking tickets.

  • wordman says:

    Yes, but that doesn’t answer my question. What would happen (i.e. what kind of incentives are generated) when a civilian population starts using decoys with die packs against purse snatchers? Or, if you like, how many are needed, and for how long, to create a negative incentive strong enough to, say, cut purse snatching in half.

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