Crime in Spain, brief overview

Several studies showed that crime in western societies fell from the mid-nineteenth century to World War II, and it increased from that date (Gurr et al., 1976; Killias & Riva, 1984). Later, while crime remains invariables for some years, it considerably increases in the mid-sixties. For instance, In France, criminal offences soared from 13 per thousand inhabitants in 1950 to 61 in 1998, being most of this growth concentrated between 1965 and 1982 (Geri, 2000) Equally, studies show an overall increasing trend up to date in France and other countries.

In the case of Spain, after the end of the civil war in 1939, the country experiences a process of criminalization and persecution of those defeated during the conflict, as well as their equalization of the status of common criminals (Gómez, 2009). Additionally, in the first post-war years there is a growth of property crimes due to scarcity and rationing and it slightly increases year after year until 1971, when the number of infractions comes close to hundred thousand (Hernando, 2016). The most common crimes during this stage are thefts, small scams (swindles) and robberies with force. Most common criminals make use of cunning and techniques based on deceit and ability, being infrequent crimes of a violent nature.

In the early 1970, Spain was in the last stage of the Franco Regime. The last years of the dictatorship were characterized, on the one hand, by the grating of greater degree of freedom to the people, and on the other, by greater political and economic instability: clamour for freedom and political tensions raised and 1973 marks the beginning of an economic downturn due to the oil crisis. It is precisely these years when crime in Spain experiences relevant changes: criminal offences alarmingly skyrocket and provoke an overall state of alert across the country, particularly in the most urbanized regions and between 1983 and 1987, one of the most problematic periods of the recent country. Potential for conflict arises in the streets and the number of offenses soared from 426,528 in 1982 to 762,113 in 1984. There is not an entire rupture with the previous period as long as the most common offense are still thefts and robbery (property crime represents approximately 87% of total offenses). Yet, there is an increase in personal crime, homicide and rapes and robberies with violence become the most relevant crime during these years. The factors of this quantitative evolution are, according to several autors, the greater incidence of narcotic consumption and traffic (Hernando, 2002). Indeed, the drug consumption infected many cities in Spain and the number of deaths from drug overdoses particularly increase during the eighties. Juvenile crime also arises and in 1982, the country registered double arrests of young boys than in 1979.

From the end of eighties up to 2008, the country experiences a gradual increase in the number of criminal infractions, coming close to 2.5 million or more than 50 per thousand inhabitants. In recent years, the country registers an overall decrease in crime, also coinciding with the economic crisis suffered by many western economies since 2008.

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Technology, social change and the need of market research

We tend to think that the technology is a quite recent development, but the truth is that it comes from the beginning of the human history. It has always been a crucial factor for the social change and for the change of our lives. Inclusive relatively simple inventions such as stirrup.220px-EnduranceStirrup

“This invention, that allows a horse riders remain firmly seated in the saddle, produced a major social change. This medieval innovation led to a completely new form of attack-combat on horseback in which a fast-moving warrior could stab or chop his opponent without fear of falling to the ground as ungentlemanly. This new form of struggle, in turn, brought new demands to the fighters. A free citizen simply could not take up arms and be fit for war. The new combat technique required many years of training, not to mention the huge expense in horses, assistants and equipment. Thus was born a social aristocracy-new-class of knights-and with it a new set of role models to the needs of affluent lifestyle of a warrior on horseback. “Few inventions have been so simple as the stirrup,” writes Lynn White Jr. (1962, p38) “but few have had so catalytic an influence on history”

What reality lies beneath this story which is relevant for market research? The rapid social change produced by new technology challenges our society as a whole, our society´s organizations and our everyday life. The primitive society was simply organized: tribes, low ranking (hierarchical), barter base economies and perhaps some differences regarding gender and age. As new technologies were emerging, as the example of stirrup, society is getting more and more complex, more hierarchical.globalization_b_1293566053-150x150

Spinning jenny, steam engine and many other inventions encouraged strong changes. Industrial revolution affected greatly European and American society. The rapidness of the changes over the last two centuries has increased exponentially. The estates of the middle age gave way to social class from the Marxist viewpoint. In recent decades, the Capitalism-communism antagonism gave way to the so called “globalization”: international integrating, multinational corporations, the dissolution of “old” social inequalities from the industrial society; the emerging subcultures, lifestyle and way of living, consumption, the rise of the Internet and the “network society”, but also climate change.

As a result, socities become more complex and all the countries over the world become economically and culturally interdependent. The 2008 crash in US eventually led and still lead to recession in most Western countries, any ecological catastrophe in Asia could eventually affect us; immigrants from all over the world habit the more and more dense urban areas. And no society, no organization can scape from this reality. Governments, countries, but also companies and other organizations, as well as families and ourselves are constantly challenged by these rapid changes.

So, why is market research needed? As a manager, researchers or consultant, the rapid social changes will constantly chalSNA_segmentlenge your organization. We are bombarded with messages that society keeps changing and technology keeps developing faster and faster, making extant professional knowledge obsolete at the speed of lighting. In conclusion, change is ongoing, and every issue in a company is exposed to change or the threat of change in the near future. Personnel, customers, government, environment, investors and suppliers´ relations might not be a problem when a company is doing well. But as “time are a-changing” such relations must be assess continuously. Sometimes, intuition based decision making is not enough nowadays to lead a company in the right direction. More systematic approaches are required.

Corporatte strategy, marketing strategy, organizational structure, business process reengineering, mergers and acquisitions, financial management, downsizing, outsourcing, relationship marketing, alliances, globalization and green policies may and must generally be based in any kind of previous research.

References

Craig J. Calhoun, Donald Light, Suzanne Infeld Keller. Sociology. McGraw-Hill, 2000.
Flick, U. (2009). An introduction to qualitative research. Sage Publications Limited.
Gummesson, E. (1999). Qualitative methods in management research. Sage Publications, Incorporated.
Oliveto, Guillermo (2008). Market Research Explained. ESOMAR.