Fight­ing crime moves up agenda

Kathimerini English - - Front Page -

Just a few hours af­ter Cit­i­zens’ Pro­tec­tion Min­is­ter Chris­tos Papout­sis her­alded a po­lice crack­down in crime-rid­den cen­tral Athens yes­ter­day, two po­lice of­fi­cers were se­ri­ously in­jured in a shootout with two sus­pects in the north­ern sub­urb of Pe­fki.

The of­fi­cers had stopped the sus­pects for an iden­tity check af­ter deem­ing them to be sus­pi­cious. One of the sus­pects pulled out a gun and opened fire on the of­fi­cers, hit­ting them both in the chest. The of­fi­cers fired back and one of the sus­pects sus­tained mi­nor in­juries. The other suspect jumped into the of­fi­cers’ pa­trol car and fled, ac­cord­ing to po­lice who said the ve­hi­cle was found aban­doned in the nearby neigh­bor­hood of Ki­fis­sia. Doc­tors at the KAT hos­pi­tal in Ki­fis­sia where the of­fi­cers were be­ing treated said they were both in a sta­ble con­di­tion.

Ear­lier in the day, Papout­sis had said that the gov­ern­ment would seek to tackle the scourge of spi­ral­ing crime in the city’s his­toric cen­ter by in­creas­ing po­lice pa­trols. He added that po­lice would raid derelict build­ings where hun­dreds of un­doc­u­mented mi­grants live in cramped and squalid con­di­tions and that authorities would of­fer in­cen­tives for mi­grants to re­turn to their home­lands. Papout­sis added that the planned con­struc­tion of a fence on the Greek-Turk­ish land bor­der, a route fa­vored by peo­ple smug­glers, was to be­gin soon.

Athens Mayor Gior­gos Kami­nis struck a sim­i­lar note dur­ing an emer­gency coun­cil meet­ing, call­ing for un­doc­u­mented mi­grants with­out the right to po­lit­i­cal asy­lum to be de­ported. “Il­le­gal im­mi­grants must leave the coun­try and if that doesn’t hap­pen then law en­forcers must re­move them as the cur­rent sit­u­a­tion is dra­matic and it is the duty of us all to keep the city on its feet.”

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