Residents to help fight crime

The first neighborhood watch scheme in Greece, whereby residents patrol their streets on the lookout for criminal activity, is set to be launched in the eastern Athens suburb of Vyronas, the local mayor told Kathimerini yesterday. Nikos Hardalias said that the municipality had already bought two patrol cars which will be driven around the area between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. each day by volunteers. They will be responsible for informing police if they see anything suspicious, in a bid to target petty crime and social disorder. The patrols will be equipped with mobile phones and walkie-talkies and will wear distinctive clothing but will not have any powers of arrest or special authority. The municipality is looking for some 150 volunteers. Those who come forward will have to face a selection board, including a psychologist, which will filter out unsuitable candidates. The scheme, for which no starting date has been given, will operate under the auspices of the Public Order Ministry, which will monitor its progress and assess whether it can be put into effect in other areas as well.

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