ATHENS – With attention locked on the still-rising COVID-19, Greek police have been busy busting crime in the Greek capital, trying to rid elements who have gained footholds during the pandemic.
The effort, said Citizens’ Protection Minister Michalis Chrysochoidis indicated during a visit to the Agios Panteleimonas precinct, a center for refugees and migrants where crime has especially persisted, is to turn them into “regular neighborhoods” that are safe, said Kathimerini.
Chrysochoidis said pedestrian police patrols and the more visible law enforcement is part of the plan and will be beefed up to give people a sense they are secure in some areas of Athens and suburbs were crime has jumped.
He said a plan has been drafted and parts of it already implemented, to also include police walking beats and more patrols by police riding tandem on motorcycles, usually two bike teams working together.
“In a very short time, this entire effort will start bringing results and the area will truly become an area of social coexistence, where people can enjoy their neighborhood,” Chrysochoidis said.
Citing data it had seen, the paper said the Hellenic Police (ELAS) conducted 52 crime-fighting operations from May 15 to the start of August in Agios Panteleimonas, Pedion tou Areos, Sepolia, Vathi Square, Omonia and other parts of the capital where crime is higher.
They questioned 1,605 people and made 137 arrests, of which 52 were for illegal immigration, 50 for drug violations, 26 for illegal trade and three for illegal arms, confiscated 291 grams of heroin, 528 pills of different controlled substances, 1,000 euros in cash and a plethora of various bootleg products.
When he took office in July 7, 2019 snap elections, ousting the then-ruling Radical Left SYRIZA that was soft on crime and riddled with terrorist and anarchist sympathizers, Prime Minister and New Democracy leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis said he would take a harder line on law enforcement and has.