OPINION

The decline of the city center

The number of shoppers visiting downtown Athens this year is considerably higher compared to the same period last year. This, of course, is primarily thanks to the absence of violent riots like those that disrupted everyday life while also hitting commercial traffic in Athens last December, following the killing of a 15-year-old boy by a police officer. Nevertheless, this should not detract from the fact that the city center is in need of urgent attention. In a word, it is filthy, with heaps of trash piling up near retail outlets. Furthermore, criminal activity is on the rise, while commercial streets are crammed with illegal street traders who sell their stock with impunity. Unfortunately, the City of Athens has so far failed to tackle all these burgeoning problems. As a result of this inaction, the center risks turning into a filthy, miserable ghetto. The socialist government must join hands with local authorities and take immediate action to prevent the further deterioration of that special and historic part of town.