Athens crime rate on the rise

The number of burglaries and car thefts in central Athens have risen by 15 percent to 14,120 so far this year, with thieves increasingly targeting the city’s more affluent areas, according to police data. Crime rates have also been increasing in different parts of Attica, feeding a sense of insecurity among residents. The number of homes and cars broken into in districts of central Athens, such as Kypseli and Neos Cosmos, from the start of the year reached 14,120 from 12,201 last year. Data showed that thieves are gradually showing a preference for the southeast suburb of Ilioupolis. So far this year there have been 142 car thefts in the area versus 92 in the same period one year previously. In contrast, thefts in Markopoulo, eastern Attica, have dropped in the first 11 months of the year to 129 from 187 in 2006. «A large number of police are being used to guard targeted areas, sports events and protests,» said a police source. «Even though we may have the highest number of police in the European Union on a per capita basis, the number of officers left for policing purposes is not enough,» the source added. One of the biggest problems involving burglaries relates to holidays homes in areas outside Athens. «My home has been broken into 32 times,» the owner of a holiday home told Kathimerini. Police have called on residents to take basic measures against burglaries such as placing better safety locks on doors, and noted that some people still forgot to lock up when leaving their homes. Locksmiths acknowledge there is no such thing as an impregnable door but say that improved locks make it more difficult for burglars. «A number of houses would have been saved if they had used locks that were slightly better. Thieves do not always have the luxury of opening a security lock as this creates noise especially if a drill is needed,» said locksmith Nikos Mitropoulos.