Czech city of Ostrava saw crime rise, right-wing extremist threat last year
The crime rate in Ostrava rose slightly last year after declining in 2012. Police officers had to address 17 630 crimes last year compared to 16 765 the year before.
However, police have once again become more successful at solving crimes, with a 32.06 % success rate last year compared to 27.77 % in 2012. Police also consider demonstrations by right-wing extremists there to be an ongoing security risk.
Ostrava Regional Police Director René Dočekal presented the information to journalists today. The statistics show that crime rates in Ostrava are higher than, for example, in Brno and many other regions.
As in recent years, most of the crimes involved property, and police recorded year-on-year growth in such crimes last year as well. However, they have succeeded in solving more property crime cases than previously.
Most such property crimes involve shoplifting and other kinds of theft, with the most frequent crime being the theft of items from vehicles. Police consider the growing aggression of perpetrators to be a current security risk, as well as the fact that Ostrava football fans have joined right-wing extremists and gotten involved in assemblies and demonstrations with them, several of which were held in the city last year.
"I have the feeling that last year they were making their attempt to disrupt the situation in this city. To date this has involved just small groups of people, but if the situation with respect to employment and quality of life in this region is not addressed, I am concerned about what will happen if these people respond disproportionately out of desperation," Dočekal noted, adding that he believes the police have been successful so far in their fight against extremism.
Violent crime last year remained at a similar level to 2012, with police addressing 976 violent crimes. The most frequent violent crime was intentional bodily harm.
Compared to 2012, fewer violent crimes were solved last year. Crime in general is most often committed by men, who are responsible for almost 85 % of such activity.
Dočekal believes the crime rates were partially influenced by last year's prisoner amnesty. "The amnesty doubtless had an influence, but it certainly is not the only factor. It would be very shortsighted to claim the amnesty is to blame for everything," he said.
The Ostrava Regional Police Director reminded the press of the fact that people in the region are grappling with a bad social situation. He considers it alarming that approximately 65 % of all crimes are committed by recidivists.
"The proportion of recidivists is high. We must reflect on what the problem is there," Dočekal believes.
The Ostrava Regional Police Director is also of the opinion that there is a need to set the penal system up in such a way that people do not return to committing crimes after serving prison sentences. Such punishment should be a sufficient lesson to a perpetrator not to repeat criminal activity.
Municipal police also addressed more misdemeanors in Ostrava last year. There were a total of 61 367 such incidents in 2013, 5 203 more than in 2012.
Zdeněk Harazim, director of the Ostrava Municipal Police, says shoplifting in malls and the theft of scrap metal slightly rose last year. Compared to 2012, local police succeeded in discovering more crime suspects; there was also a slight rise in the number of missing persons or persons wanted for questioning.
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