Andorra Crime Rate

Andorra is a very safe country with a low crime rate, accredited by international organizations. Andorra’s peculiar orography and a demographic reality where several nationalities coexist contribute to preserving this quality.

In 1962, in the midst of the Cold War and atomic escalation, American singers Pete Seeger and Malvina Reynolds popularized a pacifist song entitled “I Want To Go To Andorra”, which praised the long tradition of peace, neutrality, and demilitarization of the Pyrenean Principality.

The proverbial Andorran security was known over 50 years ago and is still so today, in the middle of the 21st century, when everything is measured by statistics. The United Nations Crime Trend Survey, the global crime statistic published annually by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, shows year after year the low incidence of crime in the Pyrenees. The latest United Nations statistics put the crime rate in Andorra at 153.9 people convicted of crimes per 100,000 inhabitants.

Comparisons between Andorra’s levels of citizen security with countries in high-risk areas, such as the Middle East or Latin America, would be ridiculous. But the country of the Pyrenees stands well in comparison with countries in the European environment: crime sentences in Spain reach 526.7 per 100,000 inhabitants, a figure that rises to 1,012.7 in the case of France, 928,5 in Germany or 753.3 in Portugal; all of them, countries that have levels of citizen security well above the world average. Andorra even withstands comparison with other European micro-states, such as Monaco, where the incidence of crime reaches 1,997 cases per 100,000 inhabitants.


Public Safety and Police in Andorra

In the case of Andorra, the prevalence of public order and public safety is not synonymous with police status. In fact, the Andorran police tradition is rather short: traditionally, security was in the hands of the somatén, convened in case of need by the captains of each parish. The police, as such, was not created until 1931, and initially had six officers. Now, almost nine decades later, the number of police officers in Andorra follows parameters similar to those in the rest of Western Europe: the Principality has 315 officers per 100,000 inhabitants – in fact, it does not reach 315, because its population permanent is slightly above 80,000 inhabitants – compared to 384 in Spain, 288 in France, 304 in Germany and 444 in Portugal.

If the number of police officers is not a variable that explains – on its own – the good levels of citizen security in Andorra, neither is it more severe criminal legislation than that of neighboring countries. The Andorran Penal Code does not differ much from those of other European countries. The legislation is tougher in terms of consumption and possession for drug use, two conducts that in Spain are considered an administrative offense, and in Andorra are crimes classified in the Penal Code. But this difference is the only notable one in criminal legislation that – broadly speaking – does not offer many specifics.

Andorra’s Location and Orography

The causes of the high level of citizen security in Andorra must be sought – among others – in the geographical and demographic reality of the country. The tiny territorial dimension of the Principality, together with an orography means that there are only two notable border points: the Spanish-Andorran border of the Runer River and the Franco-Andorran border of the El Pas de la Casa – contributes decisively to Andorra’s security. Controlling and prosecuting people who have committed a crime is remarkably easier in a country of 468 square kilometers, where almost everyone enters and leaves at two very specific points. That allows the Andorran Police to carry out a work of proximity, on the territory, and to reinforce the mechanisms of social control of the small societies. Police patrols are especially active in commercial and leisure areas, as well as in the vicinity of border points.

Beyond a privileged geographical situation in terms of maintaining citizen security and public order, another factor that helps explain Andorra’s good results in terms of crime is its social reality. Those who – in many European countries – would like to establish a link between immigration and crime would not find in the Principality of Andorra’s case in which to support their claims. Quite the opposite: more than half of the Andorra population is of foreign origin and in Andorra, almost a hundred nationalities live together.

While it is true that the country’s geographical reality makes it possible to effectively control illegal immigration – which is practically non-existent – it is also true that Andorra has, over the years, provided with effective instruments to guarantee social cohesion. Among them, two that should be highlighted: the Andorran education system is based on three public systems – the French, Spanish and Andorran. More recently, Andorra has established the right to a guaranteed minimum income, equivalent to the minimum wage, to which everyone should be entitled. People with insufficient resources have the right to apply for a social benefit up to that amount. This is what is called the threshold of social cohesion and helps to avoid situations of severe poverty and social exclusion in the Principality.

Cooperation with Neighboring Countries

Since the adoption of the Constitution in 1993, Andorra formalized relations of cooperation in police and judicial matters with the international community. The Principality has ratified multilateral conventions on judicial cooperation, both within the Council of Europe and the United Nations. More recently, police cooperation agreements have also been concluded with France and Spain. These two agreements reinforce collaboration, assistance, and exchanges between the police forces of Andorra and two neighboring countries.

Under a separate treaty, Andorra receives military protection from Spain and France, however, the Andorra army does not exist. The principality of Andorra does have a small formation of voluntary troops for special ceremonies.

Andorra Crime Statistics

Crime rates in Andorra according to in scale from 0 to 100.

Safety in Andorra