Athens fear at lack of police

More than half of Athenians have little or no faith in the police force and seven in 10 of the city’s residents feel unsafe walking alone in their neighborhood at night, according to a poll for Sunday’s Kathimerini. The survey, conducted by VPRC last week, found that only 43 percent of respondents trusted the police to fight crime. The fact that three-quarters of those questioned said they were not satisfied with policing in their neighborhood will cause further concern for police chiefs. During a meeting of the police officers’ union this month, representatives pleaded with the Public Order Ministry and their bosses to put more policemen on the beat rather than confining them to desk jobs. Half of residents in the center of Athens said that they saw policemen patrolling the streets less than twice a month or not at all. According to the poll, just under half of Athenians said that there is more crime now than a year ago. People living in Piraeus and outer Attica felt the biggest rise in crime. Over a third of Athenians said they did not feel safe walking the streets alone in the day. Those polled said that the most effective way to combat crime would be to increase police presence on the street. An overwhelming 94 percent said this would be the best measure, while the creation of neighborhood watch schemes was considered to be the least effective with only 42 percent of respondents backing it.

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