Spanish Law Enforcers Warn ‘Energy Saving Measures’ May Spark Crime Surge – Report

Measures include limits on air conditioning usage, bans on lighting shop windows at night

Image Credits: Jesus Hellin/Europa Press via Getty Images.

Spanish law enforcement officials and politicians warn that cutting lighting in store windows and public buildings, one of the measures in the energy saving plan recently proposed by the government, may result in higher levels of crime, Spanish daily Razon reported on Thursday.

On Monday, the Spanish government approved a plan designed to help reduce energy consumption in the country. The plan introduces some restrictions on using energy-intensive appliances in public places, such as limiting the minimum temperature of air conditioners at 27 degrees Celsius (80.6 degrees Fahrenheit).

Other measures include a ban on lighting in store windows past 10 p.m. local time (20:00 GMT) and mandatory automatic door closers.

Madrid’s regional head, Isabel Diaz Ayuso, warned that some of the proposed energy saving measures may pose a “security problem,” the newspaper reported. Another official, the social policies coordinator of the conservative People’s Party Marta Gonzalez, echoed this sentiment, saying that pulling the plug on shop window lighting and outdoor lighting of public buildings could put women at risk.

According to the newspaper, this view was also supported by the sources in Spanish law enforcement agencies, who confirmed that turning off shop windows at 10 p.m. may threaten public security.

“It is easier for criminals to commit crimes [in the absence of illumination],” the sources were quoted as saying by the newspaper.

Although the streetlights will still work, the proposed energy saving measures will allow criminals to act more clandestinely as the illuminated storefronts complement the lighting on some streets, the sources told Razon.

Since 2021, energy prices in Europe have been growing as part of a global trend. After the beginning of Russia’s operation in Ukraine and the adoption of several packages of sanctions against Moscow in the West, fuel prices have been growing exponentially, pushing many European governments to resort to contingency measures and the European Union to lobby a collective cut in consumption.

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