ATHENS — Crime has not risen in Greece, Citizen Protection Minister Michalis Chrysochoidis said in Parliament on Friday, accusing main opposition SYRIZA of confusing society by highlighting individual crimes as representative of a high crime rate.
"You have to decide. A few months ago, you rallied here in the Athens neighborhoods with banners saying 'Police, stay out of neighborhoods'. What exactly are you saying now? 'Thieves, stay out of neighborhoods'? Decide and tell us."
The minister said the recent abhorrent murder of the young mother in Glyka Nera and contract killings among underworld figures do not mean crime is rising overall. The first is an unusual crime of outstanding brutality under investigation, while the latter cases are part of organized crime, he added. "In five months between 2020 and 2021, crimes dropped by 10% in Athens and up to 40% nationwide," he said. "There's a difference between being afraid of crimes and a high crime rate," the minister said, acknowledging public fears for the potential spread of violent crimes.
"You were governing for nearly five years. I don't know what you did for this specific issue. I haven't seen you do something, or for police: you didn't buy a single car, a flak jacket, while there were 16,000 flack jackets whose use had expired."
Chrysochoidis said over 7,000 police are being trained to deal with new types of crimes, while he also cited statistics showing a drop in neighborhood crime rates.