Madrid is capital of hitman murders in Spain

15th November 2005, Comments 0 comments

15 November 2005, MADRID — Spanish police said there has been a significant increase in hitman murders in recent years.

15 November 2005

MADRID — Spanish police said there has been a significant increase in hitman murders in recent years.

Most of these hitmen are South Americans who "arrive, kill and depart," a top police officer says.

In an interview with EFE, the head of the national Judicial Police's specialized crime brigade, Angel Luis Galan, said this type of crime gets a lot of attention in the local press, but still represents no more than one out of ten slayings in Spain.

According to authorities, the hitmen tend to leave Spain immediately after committing the murder, making the task of investigating these crimes more difficult.

Galan said the increase has taken place over the past four or five years, but that hitman murders are still less common here than in France, Germany, Italy or the United States.

In most cases, hitmen are hired by drug traffickers wanting to punish someone who has betrayed them, like a member of the gang who kept drugs or money from their sale for himself or passed information on to another drug gang.

Galan said, however, that these organizations do not often hire hit men, but rather "get rid of the guy" themselves. "This means that the murderer is here (in Spain) and normally we end up catching him."

In other types of murders to settle scores, for example in cases where lawyers deceived their client, the latter first tries to negotiate a settlement, then issues threats and finally goes through with the killing, Galan said.

Because of their relative infrequency, Galan said, murders-for-hire are not a "serious problem".

According to figures from the Spanish government, Madrid has the highest murder rate.

The number of killings increased by 37 percent between 1999 and 2003, but declined last year, when the capital registered 60 cases of murder.

Thus far this year, 52 people have been killed in Madrid.

According to Galan's figures, of the 60-80 homicides committed each year in Madrid, seven or eight are attributable to hit men. Nationwide, between 5 percent and 10 percent of homicides are murders-for-hire, he said.

To prevent an increase in this type of crime, a specialized crime brigade's homicide and disappearances unit has been bolstered from three to 21 members.

These specialists meet periodically with their South American or Eastern European counterparts to have "an idea about what is happening in those countries and see how to deal with the problem" if it becomes more prevalent in Spain.

"Before that happens, we'll be prepared for it," Galan said.

Madrid, Malaga, Barcelona and Vigo, in that order, are the Spanish cities with the largest number of homicides.

However, in the autonomous community of Galicia - which has the nation's highest murder rate per capita - there have been a number of unresolved murders in recent years that have created, according to Galan, "a sense of insecurity and police incompetence that is not real."

[Copytright EFE with Expatica]

Subject: Spanish news 

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