Plan to fight rise in crime

The rise in thefts in central Athens has prompted police to start a new pilot scheme which requires officers to analyze crime statistics on a day-by-day basis in a bid to make the city safer, police sources told Sunday’s Kathimerini. Last week, police released their crime statistics for the first half of the year, which showed that the number of crimes, including break-ins and thefts, had risen compared to last year. The most crime-ridden area in Greece, by far, is Attica and the immediate region. According to the statistics gathered over the last 18 months, 43 percent of thefts that occur in Attica take place in Athens. Some 39 percent of robberies are also recorded in the city. Figures also show that central Athens is the busiest area for criminals. Some 13 percent of Attica’s thefts occur in the area covered by the Acropolis, Syntagma, Omonia and Exarchia police stations. Just over 6 percent of robberies in Attica also occur in this small area as well. Police have chosen these four stations to adopt the pilot scheme, which means that the officers in charge are responsible for recording and assessing the incidence of crimes in their area. Police chiefs hope that this will allow high-ranking officers to tailor their tactics to tackle the crimes that are most common in the area. If the scheme proves successful, then the technique of constantly reviewing figures will be used throughout the police force, sources said. According to figures from the Acropolis police station, the stealing of handbags or wallets accounts for 56 percent of thefts in the area while car break-ins represent some 23 percent. Almost a third of bags and wallets are stolen on Ermou Street, the busy pedestrianized shopping district in central Athens. Figures from the other three police stations show that the profile of crimes in their areas is slightly different. In Omonia, for example, car break-ins account for the majority (31 percent) of thefts. In Exarchia, home burglaries are much more common than at the other precincts, accounting for almost 15 percent of thefts. The scheme being used by officers in this area also allows them to pinpoint the streets on which criminals are most likely to operate.