In 2007, capital had fewest violent incidents in 7 years, police report

Despite the Arab rioting of the last 48 hours, 2007 was the most peaceful year in Jerusalem since the outbreak of Palestinian violence seven years ago, according to annual police statistics released Tuesday. There were no suicide bombings in the city and no deaths from terror attacks. Only four people were wounded in terror-related activities in the Jerusalem-area last year, the lowest number since the outbreak of violence in 2000. "There is no doubt that the construction of the [West Bank security] barrier around Jerusalem has greatly contributed to the security of Jerusalem," Jerusalem police chief Aharon Franco said. Yet he noted that as much as 50 percent of the Jerusalem-area fence was not completed to date, with the latest delay stemming from budgetary problems, which froze the construction of the barrier altogether for two months in 2007, along with ongoing legal appeals over its routing. "It will take years before the barrier is completed," Franco said. At the same time, the construction of the barrier has made it a target for Palestinian attacks, with stonings, firebombs and shooting attacks in the barrier area all rising over the past year, he said. The past year also saw a nearly 12% drop in crime in the city. Both violence and car thefts in the capital dropped 7% last year, compared to the year before, but there was also a 13% increase in break-ins (and a whopping 80% increase over the last decade).