As we saw in the article on the history of Andorra, the Principality has traditionally been a example of peace and warlike neutrality. Since the signing of the «Pariatges» and especially since the creation of the Earth Council in 1419, one of the oldest parliaments in the world, Andorra has lived in complete peace and neutrality, although it has been possession of different counts, bishops and monarchs during his feudal period.
It is totally remarkable that even during conflicts as severe and deadly as those of the nobility and clergy of the 16th century, the war of Spanish succession, the Napoleonic wars, the First World War, the coup d'etat of 1936 and the subsequent Francoist and the second world war Andorra has ceased to be neutral. The Principality's pacifism has continued even in the worst events and events in history.
In this article we will address a question quite related to this fact: the null criminality and delinquency of Andorra. Of course and as always, explaining the causes, conditions and reasons why this absence of crime occurs and offering arguments. Before starting, it should be noted that Andorran security becomes even more important when we remember that the Principality welcomes 8.2 million tourists from all over the world each year, and people of all nationalities and cultures live there daily..
Crime and homicides
Andorra is one of the states with the lowest crime rate per inhabitant, according to data from institutions such as Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) within the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime or the Cunited Nations Economic Failure for Europe (UNECE).
Using data from the Knoema World Data Atlas, if we look at the homicide data, from 2004 to 2015 there were only three homicidal crimes: one in 2004, one in 2008 and one in 2011, thus leaving a rate for every 100,000 inhabitants between zero and 1.2, depending on the year considered, and achieving an average rate of 0.37 homicides. To contrast, for example, France in that same period had an average of approximately 1.5 homicides per 100,000 inhabitants, and Spain around 0.9 crime rate. Of those three homicides, only the 2008 crime was with a firearm.
Crime: robberies, attacks and rapes
Being Andorra one of the safest countries in the world according uNODC statistics, basic delinquency is also quite limited. Between 2007 and 2011, robberies in establishments (supermarkets, houses, shops, etc.) in the Principality averaged around 130 robberies per year, while from 2012 to 2015 the incidents dropped to an average of 80-90 per year. This gives us a rate of about 100-200 robberies per 100,000 inhabitants.
Regarding personal robberies (purse, wallet, etc.) the value moved between 4 and 13 annually between 2007 and 2015, the average being less than 10. Personal attacks, however, were between 80 and 150 annual crime events , with an average of 120-130 attacks per year. Violations, for their part, vary according to the year between 1 and 6 in the same period, although the average is less than three.
World Bank indicators
The World Bank also publishes the so-called "Country Data Report", with indicators of delinquency, crime and institutional quality for the different countries. So we can access Andorra's here, as well as to Spain here and compare them for the period 1996-2014. It should be noted that it is structured in indices over 100 where 100 is the country best placed on the indicator and 0 the worst.
As we can see, in the aggregate indicator called Voice and Responsibility Andorra is located between the 90th and 100th percentile every year, while Spain is between 70 and 80th. But even more remarkable is the one referring to "Political stability and absence of violence / terrorism", in which Andorra moves practically between 95 and 100, and Spain hardly ever reaches 50.
Government effectiveness and regulatory quality, on the other hand, remain, around the 90th percentile line, although the latter has had an anomalous fall of 77.4 in 2014. So do the indicator of the Rule of Law and the Control of Corruption, seeing in the case of Spain a continuous degradation since 2005.
Why is the Principality of Andorra so safe?
We have already seen that the citizen security offered by the country is based on three basic points:
- A prevailing tradition of neutrality warlike
- Constant stability quality policy and institutions
- Crime rates and low crime
However, it is worth asking why this phenomenon occurs, what makes Andorra capable of maintaining those three pillars that support the security and solidity that in turn provides its citizens and tourists.
Neither by the police, nor by the military, nor by the penal code
A fun and counterintuitive fact is that the Principality does not have military or armed forces, nor does it have more police than other countries. Specifically, Andorra has about 250 police officers in the Police Corps, which results in about 300 police officers per inhabitants (at the level of Germany, Spain has 385 and France about 290). And its external defense is given in any case by agreements with their neighboring countries France and Spain, being the demilitarization of Andorra complete and very famous and known.
Formerly, security was in the hands of the somatén, an institution catalan of a parapolitical nature initiated as civil protection of crime and delinquency. This organization was called in case of need by the captains of each parish. The Police, as such, was not created until 1931, and initially had six officers.
On the other hand, nor does the Andorran Penal Code have many differences with respect to other countries, except for the greater severity and punishment regarding the consumption, possession and trafficking of drugs and psychoactive substances. So why is there this safety circuit?
Location and orography
Well indeed, one of the most influential points in security is the geographical configuration of the Andorran territory or orography. This fact has also helped a lot to maintain Andorra's historical stability and political neutrality, since fighting and battling in the middle of the mountains is tremendously difficult and for our ancestors an area with little potential for cultivation, cold, with great unevenness and adverse climatic conditions just didn't call. It wasn't worth it.
Located in the heart of the Pyrenees, between mountains, Andorra has two unique exit borders: the French and the Spanish. As the country is also quite small and the highway and communications are almost linear, following the Valira rivers (with few forks), security is much easier to guarantee and maintain. The land allows the Andorran Police to carry out proximity work on the territory, and to reinforce the social control mechanisms typical of small societies.
For the Police controlling and prosecuting people who commit crime or crime is notably easier, as is patrolling such a limited area. All people enter and exit through two unique very specific pointsThey can alert, warn and order border posts immediately when searching for a criminal or fugitive. Also tend to patrol shopping and entertainment areas and border points more frequently, whereby the guarantee is absolute.
Barcelona, a city of insecurity
Barcelona is already the most insecure city in Spain. Crime, robbery, theft, street gangs and violence and crime of all kinds they are flourishing more and more in this city, already in itself quite conflictive for the issues of independence. The riots at the end of last year, largely organized by the CDRs (Committees for the Defense of the Republic) were a major advance in this regard. They assumed the destruction of many premises and the closure of many others due to economic paralysis and street crime.
These events that closed 2019 marked the new sorpasso of Madrid over Catalonia as the community with the highest GDP in Spain. Both communities have been fighting as the first economic region since the financial crisis, when Catalonia lost its monumental advantage over Madrid. It doesn't help either constant increase in rental prices and a decrease in tourism, which make opening a local or business in the city a risky sport. The result is that social fragmentation, insecurity, crime and crime are replacing the open and cosmopolitan, tourist, welcoming and commercial society that Barcelona was.
Less than two hours from Barcelona is Andorra, which although it has always been very reserved with nationality and the rights of foreigners, it is a very cosmopolitan country. Illegal immigration is easy to control and is practically non-existent in the Principality, allowing diversity not to be conflictive for the cohesion of the region and avoiding crime. In fact, more than half of the Principality's population is of foreign origin and in Andorra people of more than a hundred nationalities with different cultures live together, without counting tourists.
Andorra, as it has gained experience with immigration, has adopted effective measures to guarantee the social cohesion of its citizens. For example, the triple Andorran educational system, with the free choice of three free and free public systems: the French, the Spanish and the Andorran system. Or also the call threshold of social cohesion recently applied, which consists of a guaranteed minimum income equivalent to the minimum wage (991.47 euros per month). In other words, all people with monthly income of less than 991.47 euros have the right to request a social benefit until they reach that amount.
Also the cooperation with neighboring countries in both police, judicial and fiscal, social, cultural and educational matters it has allowed a very stable relationship between them, contributing even more to this social cohesion, security and international cooperation.
Strict laws for residents and tourists
Finally, the Principality's immigration laws also make it one of the safest countries in the world. They establish, with the aim of prevention, the administrative expulsion from Andorran territory of people who represent a risk to the security of the State, people or property, as well as to public order. They also demand to be able to reside and live in Andorra, that the interested party proves that it does not represent any risk to the security of the State, of persons or property or for public order, in addition to the criminal record certificate of their countries of residence.
For this and many other things it is important to carry out the transfer and establishment in Andorra by the hand of good experts in Law and Taxation, both nationally and internationally, to ensure strict compliance with Andorran legislation. At Andorra Insiders we collaborate with the best lawyers, prosecutors and economists who know first-hand the laws of both the Principality and the other countries of the world, as well as International Law.
Contacting us, and after explaining your specific case, we will send you a proposal for your particular case, offering you only the legal, tax and accounting services you need for your situation and context. In addition, we provide comprehensive support, accompanying you at all times of the process: from your first doubts and questions to guiding you in your first activities in the Principality. You can find out about our dispatch services here.
2 thoughts on “Andorra, país sin crimen ni delincuencia”
War. If you define the end of a war as being when all parties have signed the peace treaty, then World War I didn't end until 1958 when the small European state of Andorra finally made their peace with Imperial Germany. Though signing up with the Allies during the First World War, the Andorrans never fought in the war and so were not invited to the Treaty of Versailles and this error was only discovered in 1958.
Routes in and out of Andorra. It is true that there are only two official routes in and out of Andorra but until recently, smuggling was not illegal and rough smuggling trails still crisscross the country and the tobacco museum has a whole area dedicated to smuggling.
Hi Clare, thank you for your comment.
Yes, you could see things with that point of view. However, in practice the event of 1958 is irrelevant, because de facto everyone was already at peace. About the routes and the smuggling, today that is fully outlawed in the country.