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New migrant crime wave hits Athenian tourist areas

Robberies, muggings and assaults have become increasingly common while Greeks are kept in a state of fear

The suspect in the murder of father-to-be Manolis Kantaris being led away from an Athenian courthouse, 2011.

According to reports in the Greek media, violent gangs now openly rob people within and outside of the tourist zone of central Athens. Without a tourist police to patrol such a major tourist city, armed gangs of migrants have been apprehended after robbing and assaulting passers by. One Greek, a 19 year old lad, has been hospitalized after being stabbed for resisting the mugging.

Near the Sunday flea market of Monastiraki and around the tourist sites of the Acropolis, near Phillopappou Hill, several individuals have recently fallen prey to armed assaults. In Kannigos Square, near a building belonging to the Ministry of the Economy, armed robberies with guns were recently reported, in incidents that have taken place in the lobby of a building and inside an elevator!

It has been decades since there were staffed foyers in office buildings and access was restricted. Now, during the crisis years, it has become a free for all. After the economic crash of 2010, more than 30 four-star Athenian hotels shut down. These hotels were all built in the mad rush to prepare for the 2004 Athens Olympics and in an effort to provide additional accommodations in other areas of central Athens, due to constant muggings of tourist in particular in and around Omonoia Square.

A few years ago, a Greek by the name of Kantaris was murdered on Patission Avenue, a main thoroughfare leading off of Omonoia Square. He was killed early one morning for his video camera early one morning as he was preparing to take his wife, who was about to give birth, to the hospital. It was his wife that found him stabbed by their car. By that point, it was clear that the situation had clearly spiraled out of control.

The rise of Golden Dawn was attributed to this uncontrolled crime wave, among other socio-economic factors. Riots ensued. The government of the time was forced to take action. They created police rapid reaction units based on motorbike, as a response to the crime wave.

When SYRIZA took power in January 2015, they alleged the police should be disarmed but they just reduced elements of this rapid reaction force and continued to maintain the riot police to crack protesters’ heads open, as they recently did with non-tenured teachers. At the same time, uncontrolled migration was allowed to continue unabated. A veritable United Nations in crime waves: from Afghani and Albanian drug dealers, to Nigerian pimps and peddlers of counterfeit money and goods, to thefts by Georgian housemaids, to Roma burglars, and this doesn’t even include the men in suits known as bankers, or for many, “banksters.”

Some people have hinted, in particular after the death of dozens of Greek pensioners, usually in their homes from torture, rape, being burned with hot irons, etc., that as these stories are always in the news, this keeps the Greek people in a perpetual state of fear and confines them inside their homes. In less than two weeks we have heard about a granny having petrol thrown on her with the threat of being burnt, and a farmer on the island of Lesvos shooting at migrants who stole all his livestock.

One can only add to that, that even those arrested for even the most violent crimes are released in a few years. It appears crime not only pays, it is thriving. The question now is how bad will the situation get again, and what impact will this have on the tourist industry?

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