Police chief: Crime down by 3% in '09

Cohen tells reporters he expects that "2010 will be an even better year, with more achievements."

david cohen 224.88 (photo credit: Israel Police)
david cohen 224.88
(photo credit: Israel Police)
Israel Police Insp.-Gen. David Cohen released crime figures on Tuesday pointing to a three percent drop in crime from 2008 to 2009.
Cohen made the statistics available during a press meeting at the national police headquarters in Jerusalem, to sum up the past year and decade.
"The year 2009 was filled with impressive achievements, but at the same time, I expect that... 2010 will be an even better year, with more achievements and the closing of the gap with the public's expectation, especially regarding personal safety," he said.
The number of murders was up slightly from 2008, from 128 homicides to 135. At the same time, Cohen stressed that Israel was in a relatively good position in comparison with other countries, with murder levels far below the US, but higher than those in the UK.
The number of arrests rose dramatically over the past decade, from 44,165 in 2000, to 59,226 in 2009. At the same time, Cohen said, the number of police cases that ended in indictments fell from 62,621 in 2000 to 44,762 in 2009.
State prosecutors asked police to complete lines of inquiry in fewer cases in 2009 (13,619) compared to in 2000 (22,288).
Cohen expressed concern over the decreasing officer-to-population ratio, which dropped from 3.39 police officers per 1,000 people in 2000 to 3.14 in 2009. He blamed a failure by the government to increase the police's budget.
"Our central motto is that of a business perception, in which we mark out clear targets, show high self-discipline, and move systematically to obtain them," Cohen said. "The central goals are crime-fighting and increasing the personal safety of the public.
"The police is a national body in a democratic state, as there is one military, one Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency)," the police chief said. "It would never be right to privatize or scatter its authorities," Cohen added, referring to calls to create municipal police forces answerable to mayors.
"I have no doubt that there is a need to systematically make the police more efficient, to invest budgets, and to demand that it improve its service to the public, instead of allowing the state to evade responsibility," he said.