We who live in America and especially in New York have developed a form of numbness to crime.
Every day, the news reports some – at least – crimes. Many of them are very wild incidents, and the crime 'industry’ entails many billions of dollars.
Almost nothing surprises us anymore.
In the last month, three crimes have shocked Greece: the murder of a well-known journalist in broad daylight in the Athens area, the murder of a businessman in Zakynthos, and the murder of a woman in Attica.
It is not just the number of crimes in a short period of time that makes an impact, but the barbarity of the crimes.
The almost ‘American’ way of committing crimes makes a strong impression – there has been growth of this ‘American-style’ crime in the once completely safe Greece.
Here is how the National Herald recorded the latest crime of the woman’s murder in Attica:
"The heinous crime that took place in Glyka Nera, Attica, of a 20-year-old woman who was killed by unscrupulous robbers (three in number according to initial information) in front of her 11-month-old baby after first being tortured for her to tell them where the family keeps its money and valuables, caused disgust.
Shortly before killing the woman, the perpetrators had immobilized her 32-year-old husband, who was tied to a chair, while they also killed the family dog so that its barking would not betray them and stop them."
The latest development is that a Georgia national was stopped while attempting to leave Greece under a false passport at the Evros border. He was arrested when it was discovered that there was evidence connecting him with a home invasion in March that was similar to the one in Glyka Nera. The Zakynthos murder appears to have its roots in family vendettas, and the investigation of the journalist’s murder is ongoing.
These crimes are likely a bad omen. Three shocking crimes happening in such a short time.
However, they can also be a new front, a new development in the constantly changing Greek society and the Balkan region.
It was not immediately clear who the perpetrators of these killings were – whether they were Greek or imported criminals who were tasked to do this ‘job’ and leave, or whether they were refugees.
What is certain is that the refugees carry with them, along with the positives, the negatives of the countries from which they come.
And one of these negatives is, of course, crime. In fact, such barbaric, horrible crimes are probably a product of what these people saw and lived in the countries they came from given the poverty, civil strife, terrorism, and/or wars they endured.
Are there ways to prevent such crimes?
Obviously there are: organizing and training police officers; their proper remuneration; providing them with the means they need to be able to do their job better.
But I am afraid that in the end there is no ‘magic bullet’ for preventing such crimes.
The Greeks will have to get used to these forms of crime, just as Americans have gotten used to them.
And that will be a great pity. Because one of the great trump cards, the comparative advantages of Greek society, will have been lost: the sense of a secure life – being able to leave the door open at night.