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Bad times at Benicassim

23rd August 2011

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As the BBC reports a significant drop in the crime rates of festivals held in Britain this year, the new worry appears to be the rising rates abroad.Benicassim

The Benicassim festival, held in the province of Castello (Spain) had a reported 26% rise in reported crime since last year, in comparison to Glastonbury and T in the Park's 35% drop.

Over 13,000 happy campers headed out to Spain this year to see their favourite bands whilst bathing in some beautiful locations. It seemed however that the Brit-filled beaches proved one of the most lucrative locations for the local criminals to target. 'Sunbathing became a nightmare' claims Sean, a first time visitor at Benicassim this year. 'I sat guarding my friends' things while they swam in the sea, and as i tried to take a photo of the group, some young boys sped past. They took three of the five bags we had with us. I lost my passport, which turned my holiday into a nightmare.' 

However, we cannot place the blame solely on the local criminals in foreign countries. Benicassim claimed to have drawn nationals from over thirteen countries this year. 'Young Britons are as much to blame as any other national group' claims Margaret Hatch of the British embassy crime department in Spain. 'We have found that festivals such as Benicassim do not employ the same levels of security as our own, and it often seems that young people tend to take advantage of this. They're let loose.'

Of course this statement appears to paint a picture of British festival-goers as a group of rioting barbarians, but 19 year old Naomi's story backs it up. Naomi's friend was one of three rape victims at this years' festival. 'I was standing with my friend when it happened!' she explains, 'I just assumed that she was going off to the toilet, as that's what another of my friends told me. It sounds terrible now, but i never realised that someone could do such a thing in a busy environment.' It is easily assumed that people gain a sense of safety in numbers. 

As festival season reaches its close, we should all hold fond memories of our summer. It is only the small few who will hold the bad. Often, falling victim to crime at festivals is unavoidable, but it can be restored. It is important however, to be aware of the dangers that festivalling abroad can pose and enjoy summer in the safest way possible. 

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