Crime Prevention

Criminal activity and law violation are two concepts which, in the minds of citizens, are associated with the police and its efforts to keep them in check.

But before we reach the point of restraining the offender, that is, once the violation has occurred, we must ask ourselves what we, as active citizens, can do to prevent such inappropriate behaviour, starting at the local level.

Crime and violation prevention is a new way of thinking about and dealing with everyday problems. The City of Athens has taken on an active role through its Local Crime Prevention Councils which have been established in all seven City Districts.

Local Crime Prevention Councils

Local Crime Prevention Councils focus their activities on the prevention of crime and violations. They have a preventative, advisory and informative role, which focuses on reducing citizens' feelings of fear and minimizing the likelihood of a criminal act or violation.

Raising citizens' awareness is a main priority for councils. In order for councils to function properly, council members must be consistently available to citizens who require assistance. It should be noted that council members have been selected on the basis of their profession and possess comprehensive, first-hand knowledge of the subject.

The involvement of citizens in the municipality's crime prevention efforts is essential as citizens themselves must take safety precautions to lessen the risk of becoming victims. But they must also operate on a collective and participatory level by becoming involved in activities conducted by Local Crime Prevention Councils. Participants should not be under the impression that they wield power, have the right to take the law into their own hands or might be considered tattletales!

Article 84 of the new Municipalities and Communities Code defines the operation of these councils, in accordance with Law 2713/1999, entitled "The Hellenic Police Internal Affairs Service and other Provisions", and Article 16.

The effort to establish and operate Local Crime Prevention Councils began in April 1999 based on Law 2713/1999, Article 16, which proposes the establishment of a Local Crime Prevention Council in every municipality or community whose populations numbers more than 3,000.

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Local Crime Prevention Council Activities

Each Local Crime Prevention Council undertakes the following activities which are required in order to carry out, develop and promote its role:

  • The staging of seminars by Local Crime Prevention Council members, on the occasion of international awareness days related to crime and legal violations.
  • Knowledge and information exchange between neighbouring Local Crime Prevention Councils which operate throughout the country.
  • The creation of an information brochure for children in cooperation with the municipality's Social Welfare Department and School Social Support Service, containing advice on how youngsters can protect themselves against dangers they might encounter on a day-to-day basis inside and outside school grounds.
  • The promotion of Local Crime Prevention Councils through television and radio advertisements and informing the general public of their existence.
  • The promotion of Local Crime Prevention Councils via media outlets featuring the use of a distinctive emblem identifying the Councils, as is the case abroad.
  • Facilitating contact between citizens and the supervisors of the Local Crime Prevention Council in each district, via City of Athens Volunteer Committees, so that they may participate in the council's programmes and activities. The Councils, in turn, issue certificates of participation to all individuals who volunteer their time to further the council's mission.
  • The publication of an informative monthly newsletter by the Local Crime Prevention Council of each City District, which includes references to legal violations and criminal behaviour committed in each respective district, information provided by local Police Stations via press releases as well as problems documented by council members. The newsletter will list crime prevention tips for citizens in each district and relevant information including contact details. While citizens should remain aware of existing problems, the newsletters also include information on new crime trends, such as the formation of gangs of minors in a particular neighbourhood or school. The newsletter is to be issued in all City Districts.
  • The establishment of a direct communication link between City Districts and both the Athens Municipal Police and Police stations in all localities to ensure that council members are updated on a daily basis. This assists Councils to create an effective action plan and contributes to the flow of information to citizens in each district.
  • All Local Crime Prevention Councils must remain in constant contact with their regional counterparts, local Police Stations and the Athens Municipal Police.
  • Regular visits to schools, nursing homes, friendship clubs and local associations to inform and be informed of any unlawful conduct. Video productions on issues that affect each target group are presented, along with information on relevant safety measures. Their role is to advise, guide, raise awareness and encourage citizens to develop a sense of trust and confidence in municipal authorities and the police.
  • The staging of theatre, music and other cultural events for people of all ages, in cooperation with local associations and school groups, covering a range of themes related to legal violations.
  • The establishment and coordination of a network of crime prevention volunteers within each Local Crime Prevention Council covering areas such as:

- Driving behaviour
- Unlawful behaviour
- Violence in and out of school
- Drug use
- Abuse and exploitation of minors
- Abuse and exploitation of women


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