Police struggle to arrest price tag vandals
Price tags attacks have increased dramatically in the past few years, from 28 incidents in 2011 to 56 incidents in 2012.
Car with "price tag" graffiti [file] Photo: Melanie Lidman
Police arrested suspects in only 20 percent of the “pricetag” attacks that
occurred in the Jerusalem region over the past year, Asst.-Ch. Yossi Prienti
announced on Sunday as he released the Jerusalem District crime figures for
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 afterward.
Prienti said the police opened a desk in January
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 to prove that the state and the army must “pay a price” for
anti-settlement activity such as destroying illegally built
Price-tag attacks have increased dramatically in the past few
years, from 28 incidents in 2011 to 56 in 2012.
They 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.
was a slight increase of 3.1% of violent crime in Jerusalem. Police received
7,252 violent crime complaints in 2012, up from 7,032 in 2011 but still lower
than the 2006 high of 7,776 complaints.
Muggings and personal theft also
increased, from 208 incidents in 2011 to 228 in 2012. Prienti said this
reflected a nationwide trend of slightly higher crime rates in 2012 than in past
Prienti also said that police detained 150 adults and minors for
throwing rocks in east Jerusalem in 2012, part of a concentrated effort to halt
the stone throwing before it grows out of control. He also wants to create
another police station in east Jerusalem by carrying out a complete
reorganization of the police officers in the Jerusalem area to provide more
complete coverage to east Jerusalem, he said.
The new police district
would not change the number of officers, just their assignments, he
Prienti touted the Jerusalem District’s 100% success rate for
solving murders. Four people were murdered in Jerusalem in 2012, compared with
five in 2011.
Jerusalem police dealt with a total of 76,344 complaints in
2012, and solved 32.7% of them.