NEWS

Crime thriving in historic center

A new report by Athens municipal authorities highlights a sharp increase in crime and illicit trade in the city’s so-called historic center, where 40 percent of all migrants in Attica are believed to reside. According to the latest study by the City of Athens, illicit trade, including in counterfeit goods, is up by some 20 percent, accounting for between 7 and 10 billion euros per year. A total of 215,618 counterfeit items were seized by municipal police in the first five months of this year. The report also highlights a new problem that has developed over the past year or so involving the occupation of areas around street markets by immigrants touting illegal wares. The ubiquitous groups of migrants on street corners have fueled protests by local residents, who have intensified their lobbying of local authorities to restore order and cleanliness in the run-down district. The transformation of many local hotels into brothels was also emphasized in the report. Of the 250 brothels operating in the area, only seven are believed to have licenses. Another problem, the authors of the report say, is the increase in the trade of drugs which are being produced in abandoned workshops that have been turned into narcotics laboratories. The increase in the number of homeless people on the streets is another problem mentioned in the report. «City Hall is doing its duty – in fact it has gone beyond its duty – as far as helping the homeless is concerned,» Deputy Mayor Lefteris Skiadas said, adding that municipal authorities have been particularly active in feeding the homeless by organizing regular soup kitchens. «We Greeks must not forget that hungry people can be dangerous and might strike out,» he remarked.