Gibraltar, from La Linea de la Concepcion by Clare Wilkinson is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license

On Friday the Olive Press posted an article saying how La Linea is becoming “like a small Colombian Andalucia,” it’s not. Don’t get caught up in the idea that your car will be blown up, or that you will be the victim of a drive by, it’s not going to happen. It’s not quite Medallin in the 80’s.

Let’s remember that the source provided in the article was an anonymous member of the SUP (Spain’s United Police Union), and a headline like this is to create a state of public fear. To make people feel like they aren’t safe, or that they aren’t protected, and that provides them with leverage in negotiations.

It’s a shame because in a lot of ways Linea has gone through a period of gentrification. The restaurants and bars opening are of a higher standard, the port has been redeveloped, and it does feel a lot safer than it did in the 90’s.

My grandparents who lived in La Linea in the late 80’s/early 90’s would tell me how the crime was rife in those days, drugs, curb crawlers, but as long as you kept yourself to yourself then you would be left alone. To me, as a personal opinion, it doesn’t feel like that place anymore.

Of course it would be naive to suggest there is no criminal or drug activity in La Linea, but a huge portion of locals are in a state of poverty. If the world has taught us anything it’s that where you find poverty you are likely to find criminal activity. It walks hand in hand.

However, to make comparisons with “Narcos”, and war-torn Colombia in the days of Pablo Escobar, is just scare mongering. Don’t buy into it. Pablo Escobar is rumoured to have had 5,000 people killed during his reign of terror, and it’s not exactly comparable. Bad things do happen, of course they do, bad things happen everywhere, but largely it stays among those actively involved in criminal activity.

Don’t be afraid of your next door neighbours, and next time you’re there go La Chakra, it’s great.