Crime in Greece

Crime in Greece

Crime in Greece is combated by the Greek Police and other agencies. For much of the 20th century, the security forces were criticized for spending their time chasing people with left-wing political views, instead of focusing on actual crime. However, the crime rate in Greece was historically among the lowest in Western Europe, and continues to be. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, many illegal immigrants came to Greece from Eastern European countries: most of them Albanians, Ukrainians and Bulgarians, but also Czechs, Russians and Poles. Their sudden arrival contributed to an increase in criminal activities throughout the 1990s and 2000s, but the Greek Police also had several victories, breaking up mafia organizations, arresting the 17 November terrorist group, and successfully organizing security for the 2004 Olympic Games.


Police Politics

One of the major criticisms addresssed to the Greek Police by the Greek media is the politicization of its officer corps. Up until 1981 (when Andreas Papandreou and his socialist PASOK party came to power), almost all senior officers of the Greek Gendarmerie and the Cities Police were dyed-in-the-wool conservative right-wingers. These two agencies were merged in 1984 to create the Greek Police. It is not uncommon for officers to seek the patronage of a political party, and "cliques" have been formed inside the force, sometimes with a regional basis; for example, most Generals usually originate from the Peloponnese or from Crete.

Property crime

As of 2011, Greece has seen an increase in property-related crime, thought to be linked to the worsening of economic conditions.[1] Robberies, ranging from street muggings to bank hold-ups and house burglaries, totaled about 80,000 in 2009, up from about 50,000 in 2005.[2] The increase in property crime has seen an increase in the amount of work for private security companies.[3] Nevertheless, the crime rate is still among the lowest in Western Europe.


Armed robberies in Athens doubled between 2007 and 2009; however, Athens is still among the safest capitals in Europe.[4] Thefts and break-ins jumped from 26,872 recorded cases in 2007, to 47,607 in 2009.[5] The number of murders in Athens nearly doubled between 2007 and 2009.[6] The Greek Police has responded that it oftens finds its work hindered by NGOs, who tend to interfere with police procedure, advocate small penalties for criminals and spread false rumors of police brutality.


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