Athens police eye petty crime

Police have stepped up a drive to crack down on petty crime in Athens ahead of the Olympics, making dozens of arrests in the past few weeks, the government said yesterday. «As part of our efforts to make public areas safer, we are implementing a series of measures – with tangible results,» Public Order Minister Giorgos Voulgarakis said. «Ahead of the Olympic Games, we will increase our concerted efforts to make everyday life in Athens safer, and to change the city’s image.» Throughout the month of May, police, working together with municipal police as well as tax and Development Ministry inspectors, focused on removing illegal street vendors from the city center. Over 300 seizures of clothes, accessories and household goods were made, while nearly 3,000 packets of contraband cigarettes and some 40,000 pirated CDs were confiscated. Also, over the past three weeks, uniformed and plainclothes officers have made over 40 arrests – mainly for drug offenses – in central squares and pedestrian areas.