Barcelona, Friday 15 April 2011
“You spend more time playing security guard than serving customers,” explains Javier, a waiter who works the outdoor terrace at Restaurante Amaya, located in the lower Rambla area. “In one month they have already stolen three handbags from customers here having a drink, and that’s with me constantly on the lookout,” he continues. For this young waiter, as for the majority of those working on the promenade, the area’s main problem (“which isn’t so serious”) is still the small robberies—in addition to the ubiquity of the thimbleriggers and peddlers with a sort of whistle that persistently penetrates the ear of the long-suffering workers throughout the day, and beer venders, prostitutes and pimps when night falls.
Despite the persistence of petty (and on occasion not so petty) crime, La Rambla has three uniformed patrols morning and afternoon exclusively for the promenade—the busiest in the city—as well as several special units principally engaged in surveillance and theft prevention for establishments and individuals. In addition, six agents from the Public Health Task Force are working in the area to minimize the sale of drugs, and the presence, since last summer, of seven security cameras and plainclothes police officers has helped to improve security in the area.
Source: El Periódico newspaper, 15 April 2011