Property crime down, drug busts up in North

Home broken into every 73 minutes in region, according to annual report.

burglar  (photo credit: )
(photo credit: )
The war on crime produced mixed results in the North in 2008; while overall crime rates and property crimes fell, there was a increase in drug-related offenses, according to an annual report released by the Israel Police's Northern District on Tuesday. Youth crime, arson, and confiscation of illegal firearms also rose across the North. The figures echo trends recorded in the recently released national appraisal of crimes for 2008, published by the Israel Police's National Headquarters. At a press conference at the northern police district's headquarters in Nazareth on Tuesday, Northern District head Cmdr. Shimon Koren drew attention to an increase in attempts to smuggle hard drugs into Israel from Syria, stressing that a successful transfer of narcotics from Syria had yet to take place. Relying on its revived Lebanon Border Unit force, the police intercepted two drug smuggling runs in the Golan's Majdal Shams area during 2008. Syrians, Israelis and Lebanese citizens all collaborated in the drug runs, Koren said, adding that some of the smugglers were in close contact with Hizbullah. One hundred and fifty-nine kg. of heroin were seized by police in the North last year, as well as 28 kg. of hashish. The increase in attempted drug smuggling across the northern border comes despite police appraisals that such runs have a smaller chance of success due to the IDF's increased presence on the border since the Second Lebanon War. Police had learned from the UN that Syria was also combating drug runs, Koren said, adding that no such effort was being made in Lebanon. Police also intercepted a shipment of a ton and a half of cocaine from South America to Israel in 2008, estimated to be worth NIS 2 billion. The head of the smuggling network, named by police as Moshe Algarbeli, a former soccer linesman from Megadim, is on the run. He would be arrested in the near future, Koren vowed. An apartment in the North is burgled every 73 minutes, according to the report. Every 35 minutes, a physical assault takes place. Each day sees one rape, and a murder takes place every 11 days on average. Youth crime focused on drug-related offenses, property crime and knife possession. The rise in reported youth crime was attributable to an increase in police enforcement, rather than a rise in actual incidents, Koren said. The annual report provided evidence of a new determination by police to battle the courts when judges ruled against the police. One hundred and thirty-eight appeals were made by police to the district courts in response to decisions taken by magistrates in 2008. The courts accepted the police's appeals on 81 occasions.