Olympic security boost brought down crime, ministry data shows

The bolstering of the Attica police force with a large number of officers from the provinces as part of the broader security effort for the Athens Olympics succeeded in curbing criminal activity in the six-month period from last May to October, it has been revealed. Indeed, the rate of common crimes – with the notable exception of robberies – showed a significant drop during this period, as compared to the same period last year. According to statistics made public on Monday by the Public Order Ministry, this year saw a 37 percent drop in homicides, a 23 percent drop in burglaries and a 15 percent drop in car theft. However, the ministry’s figures showed a 5 percent rise in robberies over the same period this year. But the months of July and August, when the Olympic security plan was being implemented, saw a drop in robberies, as compared to the same period last year. The drop in criminal activity was largest during the months of June, July, August and September when policing of the Attica basin was at its most intense. During the other months of this year, crime figures were about the same as last year’s. Indeed, Public Order Minister Giorgos Voulgarakis, speaking recently about the need to restructure the Greek Police and about the lack of staff on the beat, stressed that most of the country’s police officers had congregated in Attica over the course of the Olympics, and that their presence had proved productive. The current aim of the ministry is to tackle crime by making the best possible use of human resources and other means, because the increased presence of police in Attica, as was the case during the Olympics, could not be extended indefinitely. The policing of central squares across Attica – part of the ministry’s ongoing campaign to effectively curb crime – resulted in 185 arrests during the months of September and October. There were also 40 instances of illegal trade during these two months where officers confiscated various goods. (Kathimerini)