Tourists planning a trip to Barcelona are being warned to be on their guard after a surge in violent crime in the city.
The situation has been dubbed a “crime crisis” and “out of control” as figures showed the numbers of muggings and violent robberies is on the up.
Figures show that crime increased by 9% in the first six months of the year compared to 2018, while violent crimes were reportedly up nearly a third over the same period.
The statistics come amid a spate of violent robberies that hit the headlines, including the mugging of the Afghan ambassador in Spain, Humayoon Rasaw, on Sunday night, when a 91-year-old French woman was also mugged just a few streets away.
A German tourist was also left injured after being mugged two days earlier in the same area.
Luis Sans, president of an association representing businesses on the Passeig de Gràcia, a major street running through central Barcelona, told the BBC: "It's time to admit the situation is out of control”.
Possible explanations for the growth in violent crime have been given as the Spanish legal system, which allows first-time petty criminals to avoid jail by paying a fine, as well as the growth in popularity of Barcelona as a tourist destination, while some critics have put it down to unaccompanied immigrant minors in the city.
Barcelona mayor Ada Colau has increased the city’s security budget by 16% last year and again by 11% this year.
The Catalan regional government has also agreed to deploy 300 extra police to the city in September.