Increase in thefts in parking lots: “Cars are not a safe”

The number of robberies in the Saba car park located in Plaça de Catalunya It has risen since the summer, according to police sources. A tourist explains in a letter sent to BETWEEN ALL how looting your vehicle ruined your vacation in Barcelona.

After spending a few days in Barcelona, Patricio Nardo and his friends decided to take advantage of their last hours in the city in the downtown area. They had checked out the apartment in which they had stayed and thought that the best option not to carry all their suitcases was to leave them in the car they had rented at the El Prat airport and park it in a guarded parking lot, the from the Plaza de Catalunya. “When we returned they had broken a glass and stolen all our valuables & rdquor ;, Nardo writes, who filed a complaint at a police station in Eixample. In the complaint, to which this newspaper has had access, a laptop, 2,000 euros in cash and about 6 bank cards are listed as stolen objects.

The security guard in the parking lot ignored the events, according to Nardo’s version, and reminded him of the message that is repeated over and over again by public address, and that can also be read in some posters: users must collaborate with the company avoiding leave objects in sight and making sure the vehicle is locked.

Traveling to the police station and filing the complaint took them a couple of hours, he recalls. With this document they went to the consulate. “Not only did they ruin our vacations and we lost valuable things,” the tourist explains, “we also they took my passports, Italian and Argentine, and the US visa & rdquor ;. When they lost that visa, they could no longer catch their flight to Argentina, which was passing through the United States, but had to take a more direct one with the provisional passport.

Nardo, who knows the city well because he visits it with relative regularity, writes the letter to uncover crime that operates underground, and he does so discouraged by the feeling that he will never recover what was lost after taking all the possible steps and above all because he believes “that nobody will do anything to prevent these thefts from continuing to happen & rdquor ;. After queuing at the police station and at the consulate, they also get a bad image of the Catalan capital, that of a city “increasingly insecure & rdquor ;, he writes in his letter.

The car park where these events took place, on November 16, is one of 39 that the private company Saba operates in the city of Barcelona. Sources of Mossos d’Esquadra confirm to this newspaper that this parking lot is “one of the critical points & rdquor; and urge the operators of these spaces, both public and private, to & rdquor; increase security measures & rdquor ;. Given the worrying increase in the number of robberies suffered by this type of facility since last summer, the regional police promoted several meetings to “improve coordination between guards and agents & rdquor ;.

Underground patrols

During the months of total lockdown due to the pandemic, when activity on the surface was reduced to the maximum, police patrols descended to the parking lots more than usual. Now they do patrols periodically, entering through one access and leaving the other in search of suspicious people, something confirmed by workers at the Saba parking lot in Plaça Catalunya to this newspaper, who confess to feeling overwhelmed in this huge facility with up to nine accesses on foot. From january to november Mossos has arrested 76 people for robbing parking lots, fruit of investigations and arrests ‘red-handed’. However, the police remember that it is not their role to monitor private facilities and that they need the eyes of the guards.

Saba’s facilities have more than 1,000 cameras, which allow sometimes identify suspected criminals and notify the police. “We will never put at risk the physical integrity of its workers or, obviously, that of its customers & rdquor ;, underline sources from this industrial operator specialized in parking management.

Consulted by the specific case of the rebound in the incidence in its most central car park, the company assures that in recent months it has reinforced private surveillance with physical presence and patrols that support its operators, personnel who are not security professionals. . This greater presence of vigilantes could explain, according to the operator, the movement of organized and professionalized gangs, often violent, to less central car parks like BSM Via Augusta or BSM Parc del Fòrum. “The problem is general and affects all types of paid or private car parks, privately or municipally owned. As Saba and BSM are the operators with the greatest presence, they are also the most punished by this scourge & rdquor ;, adds a spokesperson for the group.

Christmas shopping

Theft with force inside vehicles is considered a minor offense. For the operator, who has been presented as a private accusation in the trials – when the cameras have allowed the criminals to be identified – to try get more severe penalties, this typing should change. In this sense, Saba has requested the revision of the legislation of the Penal Code so that stricter penalties can be applied to the multireincidencia of this type of misdemeanor. He has also requested the creation of a new court specialized in this type of crime or the reorganization of one of the current ones. For the operator’s spokesperson “there is an urgent need for faster and more specialized trials in this type of crime & rdquor ;.

These are Christmas shopping days and at this time Mossos d’Esquadra launches a prevention campaign on social networks with a very clear message: “Cars are not a safe & rdquor; (#NoEsUnaCaixaForta). The thieves are not opportunists, but real professionals, who can be on the lookout for these busy days in the most commercial areas of the Catalan capital. For this reason, the regional police advise against going down to the parking lot to leave some bags and continue shopping, and even more to leave them in sight. In case of finding the forced car or a broken window, they ask that nothing be touched and quickly call 112.

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