Crime worst in central, west Athens

Central Athens and the capital’s western suburbs are hotspots for petty crime, which is mostly carried out by young, unemployed men, according to a police report obtained by Kathimerini. Of the 30 Athenian neighborhoods with the highest rates in minor incidents, Peristeri is the most crime-infested, followed by Nea Smyrni and Patissia. Kifissia is the area least ridden by thefts, drug selling and the like, among the top 30, followed by Psychico. The report, compiled by Attica police, found that 10 percent of thefts were solved and 30 percent of robbers were caught. Mostly, the crimes were opportunist in nature and carried out by men who were «young, unemployed, poor and, often, drug addicts,» according to the report. Statistics from the capital’s police stations relating to criminals caught red-handed indicate that most crimes consist of petty theft, the selling of drugs and sex-trafficking. Most arrests this year have taken place in central Athens and the western suburbs. The Acropolis police station has been the busiest, handcuffing 1,124 suspects so far in 2004. Just 42 arrests were made by officers in Psychico during this time. The presence of drug dens in central Athens, between the areas of Patissia and Kolonos and particularly around Omonia and Vathis squares, is a concern according to a source in the police drug squad who spoke to Kathimerini. The problem has somewhat diminished in western Athens, according to the officer, after a policy of daily raids and patrols over the last four years. Central Athens is also considered to be particularly susceptible to more serious crime, such as targeted robberies and break-ins. Also, of the 2,551 car and motorbike thefts that have taken place this year, 1,155 were in the downtown area.