Poll uncovers lack of faith in the police

A Europe-wide crime survey released yesterday showed that Greece has the highest rate of corruption and that Greeks have very little confidence in their police force despite data showing dropping crime rates. The report, considered to be one of the most comprehensive law and order surveys in the EU, showed that Greece is by far the front-runner on the corruption front. Thirteen percent of those questioned said that they have been the victims of corruption versus a European average of 2 percent. The survey also ranked the country in the second-worst position in terms of the levels of trust in local police. Just less than half of Greeks said they are scared to walk down the street at night, while 49 percent believe that it is very likely they will be a victim of a break-in in the coming year. The European Crime and Safety Survey of over 40,000 people, published in Brussels yesterday, was a joint venture between the United Nations, the European Commission and the Gallup polling organization. London was found to be the most dangerous capital in the EU, followed by Amsterdam, Dublin and Belfast as regards what researchers called common crimes, such as car theft, pickpocketing and burglary. On the broader crime front, Greece fared reasonably well. The country also had the lowest incidents of car and motorcycle theft among the countries surveyed. At a joint press conference by police and municipal officials in Athens yesterday, officials admitted that they need to change policing methods in Greece in order to meet society’s changing needs. Senior police officers called on the government to up staffing levels by some 5,000 and blamed dated Public Order Ministry planning for police shortfalls. Officials insisted, however, that crime rates in Attica are sliding. Data which was made public yesterday indicated that thefts and break-ins last year dipped 12 percent over 2005.