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Athens mayor, city groups unite against crime

Athens Mayor Giorgos Kaminis invited community groups, academics, police authorities and experts to a meeting at city hall on Wednesday, in order to discuss ways to tackle increasing inner-city crime.

Mayor Kaminis, who was expected to present the findings of the meeting to party leaders the next day, said it is crucial that the issue of Athens criminality be discussed in parliament as the need for metropolitan governance is becoming more evident than ever.

Participants underlined the need to take immediate action as visitors and residents have repeatedly expressed feelings of insecurity, particularly with regard to an ever-growing drug trade, petty theft and burglaries. Suggestions include ensuring law and order is enforced, proposed by the Athens Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Athens – Attica & Argosaronic Hotel Association, the Pedion tou Areos Park Residents group and the Organizations and Citizens Network for the Historic Center, among others.

University representatives proposed a comprehensive plan for the upgrade of affected city areas while Greek police said staff shortages were making it almost impossible to patrol the city.

Referring to the problems, Kaminis didn’t mince his words: “We often feel like we have no one on the opposite end to speak to, but today we are given the opportunity to join our voice with yours… with regard to drug trafficking and the homeless, the relevant ministries are absent.”

Kaminis added that the municipality will continue to create conditions for growth and new jobs: “You are aware that we are daily and systematically making efforts – under stifling social and economic conditions – to improve the lives of Athens’ residents, the operation of the city, create the conditions for economic development as well as working to upgrade the international reputation of the capital,” he said.