Salonica a safer city last year

Most forms of crime declined sharply in Greece’s second-largest city last year, while drugs hauls rose, according to figures made public yesterday by Thessaloniki’s police chief. The northern city will host the European Union summit meeting in June. Nikiforos Tzatzakis said the improved crime figures were mainly a result of better policing through boosted patrols and a radical increase in police checks and the number of suspects taken in for identification – which soared from 5,923 in 2001 to 33,311 last year. Robberies fell 35 percent last year compared to 2001, while there was a 56 percent decline in theft, and an 18 percent drop in car theft. Tzatzakis said there were only five murders in Thessaloniki last year, all solved, compared to 10 in 2001. And juvenile delinquency was reduced by almost 50 percent, with 98 arrests in 2002. Thessaloniki police seized 51.5 kilos of heroin last year (up from 27 in 2001), 804 kilos of marijuana (526 in 2001) and 3.8 kilos of cocaine (3 kilos). An aggressive road safety campaign resulted in a 15 percent drop in traffic accidents.

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