Citizens' group: Crime, illegal migration plague Athens inner city

Increased crime and growing sense of insecurity was confirmed in a study on Athens’ inner city districts prepared on behalf of a new citizens’ movement, comprised mostly of local business representatives in the Greek capital's centre.
In a special event on Wednesday, Varvara Vernikou, the president of the new group (KIPOKA), underlined that “the state is unable to enforce the law”, while Athens Mayor Giorgos Kaminis stressed that “restoring a sense of security among the people is of major importance”.

He also pointed out that the flow of illegal migrants into the city should be curbed, adding that interventions that will have a rejuvenating effect on the city are also important. 

Hellenic Chamber of Hotels president Giorgos Tsakiris underlined that “this is primarily a law enforcement problem”, while Supreme Court prosecutor Ioannis Tentes stressed that illegal migration is even more serious than the country’s fiscal problem. “If it is not faced we will have an existential problem as a nation and as a state…Police is not enough. The Greek state as a whole will have to take action,” he stressed.

Attica Regional Governor Ioannis Sgouros said that he has long described the situation as a “public health time-bomb”, referring to abandoned or illegally occupied buildings and added that “a problem of survival has evolved into a safety problem for local residents”.

Former Athens Mayor and Democratic Alliance founder Dora Bakoyannis, a current independent MP, pointed out that “the state has no plan”.

The event was also addressed by Deputy Interior Minister Theodora Tzakri, Deputy Labour Minister Anna Dalara and Greek Police (EL.AS) deputy chief Yiannis Rahovitsas among others.

According to the author of the study Kyriakos Reres, “the goal is to produce wealth that will allow Athens to compete with other metropolitan centres. The city should offer culture, museums, opportunities and most of all quality.”  

The study on “the ghettoizing of part of the old city centre and its consequences on the local economy” was prepared by the Institute of Tourism Research and Forecasts.

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