Robbery rate soars in 2007

Countrywide crime figures made public yesterday show that there were nearly 10,000 more robberies and homes broken into last year than in 2006, pushing the total figure to 58,472. According to the data, 9,222 suspects were arrested in 2007 in connection to robberies, of which 5,751 of these, or more than six in 10, were Greek nationals. Armed holdups of banks, supermarkets, service stations and security vans also rose to 2,823 for the year from 2,463 in 2006. Calls for increased policing of the country’s large city centers have been repeatedly made by community groups. However, police argue that many officers are tied up in embassy guard posts and minding senior government officials. The effectiveness of police investigations also appears to be slipping as 16.4 percent of robberies were solved last year from 20.2 percent in 2006. Police confiscated 44 kilos of cocaine in 2007 and 237 grams of heroine.