Public Order Minister Michalis Chrysochoidis is, in accordance with his own recommendations at the Cabinet session yesterday, mapping out a total security system for the country. Chrysochoidis explained that he employed this term to emphasize that the new plan will aim at providing both social and individual security. Despite the fact that the term is reminiscent of PASOK’s previous neologisms, his point carries particular weight in the present environment which is marked by a tendency to focus on issues of collective security while the average citizen is primarily suffering from ordinary, everyday crime. The prioritization of collective security which has recently become manifest in public discourse was expressed yesterday by Prime Minister Costas Simitis himself. Simitis defined the struggle against illegal immigration, prevention of terrorism and security during the Olympic Games as principal goals. All three aims involve security areas which have always been crucial. But they have acquired even greater strategic weight in the current international environment where new threats not only jeopardize individual existence and normality in the public sphere but also the country’s international relations and image. All three, however, involve collective rather than individual aspects of security. Greece no doubt has to be prepared to pre-empt global terrorist strikes, to control potentially large waves of migrants that could disrupt economic and social life, and to ensure absolute security during the Games. The emphasis on these challenges should not lead to an underestimation of the current problems, which may seem mundane but rob people of a feeling of security or pose a significant danger to their lawful property. People are afraid of terrorism, but they are also afraid of violent robberies or road accidents and are fully aware that the risk is much higher in the latter cases. In the so-called minor offenses against property, fear is not based on the laws of probability: The majority of people have been robbed in the past, and they did not see that as a minor incident. In view of this, dual protection for collective and individual security as pledged by Chrysochoidis is imperative. Achieving it, however, is an extremely demanding task. It not only presupposes strategic guidelines and legal reforms but also the optimization of security services and their insistence on the pursuit of both aims, even on the day that the government itself will say, Focus on the Olympics.

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