Dramatic rise in crime this year

Both serious and petty crime rose substantially in the first half of this year, in some cases by almost 50 percent, according to figures made public yesterday by the police force, which stressed that the number of crimes being solved has also increased. The biggest rise was in sexual exploitation crimes, which were up by 49 percent, followed by bank robberies, which shot up by 43 percent and other robberies, which rose by 40 percent. There was also a rise of 30 percent in the theft of animals, 14 percent in the theft of cars and almost 10 percent in the number of burglaries. Commenting on the publication of the figures, the police claimed that the fact it was now recording crimes more accurately had, in part, contributed to the numbers being higher. It also said that although there had been an increase in crime, the proportion of crimes being solved also rose. The number of robberies solved rose by almost 37 percent while the number of blackmail cases cracked was up by 67 percent. There was also a small rise (2.8 percent) in the number of burglaries solved. Police sources also underlined that Athens is by far the crime capital of Greece. In 2006, some 70 percent of all the break-ins in Greece were committed in Attica. According to sources, this figure rose to 80 percent in the first six months of this year. The Interior Ministry took the unusual step of highlighting the proportion of crimes that are committed by foreigners living in Greece. It said that foreigners commit almost half of robberies, break-ins, rapes and sexual exploitation crimes. The ministry also stated that foreign nationals are responsible for 90 percent of breaches of intellectual property rights, 99 percent of counterfeit money and 96 percent of forgeries.