NEWS

‘System to blame for migrant crime rise’

Greece’s failure to get its immigration policy together, which has allowed thousands of migrants to slip through the cracks, had been identified as a main factor behind the fact that foreigners are responsible for a relatively large amount of crimes. According to a newly published study conducted by the National Center for Social Research (EKKE), 92.78 of offenses connected with the submission of forged paperwork in 2007, including health insurance stickers and medical certificates, involved migrants. Seven in 10 of those arrested for committing forgery that year were migrants. The complicated process for migrants to obtain residence permits or asylum is seen by many as being to blame for fueling this activity. The frequent inability of migrants to obtain the right to work in Greece is also regarded as a key factor in the study, which found that in the same year just under 93 percent of those arrested for begging were migrants. «On the part of public servants, one can discern wariness and prejudice toward migrants, which is reflected in abrupt and racist behavior,» according to the report. «This confrontational approach has a negative impact on society because it sends the message that migrants are a problem.» The survey also shows that the percentage of murders committed by migrants is back on the rise after a brief lull. Having peaked at 41.3 percent in 2000, the rate fell to 31.6 in 2005 before rising to 36.3 percent in 2007. Almost four in 10 robberies were also carried out by migrants in 2007, up from 22.2 percent in 2000. «The trend underlines a rise in some crimes carried out by migrants… which results in the myth being kept alive that migrants are behind violent crime,» said Ioanna Tsiganou, one of the academics behind the report.