Police only arrested suspects in 20% of the price tags that occurred in the Jerusalem region over the past year, Insp-Gen Yossi Prienti announced on Sunday as he released the Jerusalem District crime figures for 2012.
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In the past year, there were 56 vandalism attacks motivated by racism, 90% of which were Jewish extremists destroying Arab property or spray-painting anti-Arab graffiti. Police arrested suspects involved in 12 of the incidents, but the vast majority of the suspects were not indicted and released soon afterwards.
Prienti said the police opened a special desk in January 2013 with 10 officers to deal with price tag and racially-motivated incidents. Price tag incidents stem from a movement of extremist settlers who carry out vandalism in order to prove that the state and the army must “pay a price” for anti-settlement activity such as destroying illegally built homes.
Price tags attacks have increased dramatically in the past few years, from 28 incidents in 2011 to 56 incidents in 2012. Price tag attacks include slashing tires of Arab cars, spray painting anti-Arab graffiti, and vandalizing Muslim and Christian houses of worship. Prienti stressed the difficulty of apprehending suspects because the crimes can be committed so quickly and in so many places. “All it takes is a kid with a spray paint can,” he said.