Danino: Crime rate down, but sense of fear high

Police chief tells Knesset c'tee that war on crime represents "a strategic issue no less important than Iranian threat."

Yochanan Danino 311 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Yochanan Danino 311
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Police chief Insp.-Gen. Yohanan Danino said Wednesday that although the crime rate has dropped significantly, the public does not feel safe amid a rash of highly publicized violent crimes in recent weeks.
Speaking at a Knesset Interior Committee discussion on crime, Danino said that the war on violent crime represents "a strategic issue no less important than the Iranian threat" for Israel.
"Citizens can trust that the police will do everything in their power to bring the feeling of security back and to fight violence effectively," Danino vowed.
Danino said that as part of efforts to minimize crime, he has taken a number of measures, including deploying "many more cops on the street."
The police chief stated that the plan to deploy more officers was supposed to take effect later this summer, but he decided to push up its implementation due to a rash of highly publicized crimes that have received extensive media coverage, raising the public's sense of insecurity.
Last week, a young couple in central Tel Aviv were subjected to a three-hour ordeal in which a 21-year-old Palestinian allegedly brandished a knife, lead them to a bathroom and ordered them to perform sexual acts with one another. He then raped the girl and tried to rape the man, according to police.
In another story heavily covered in the Israeli media, father-of-two Gadi Vichman was stabbed to death in Beersheba earlier this month after having asked a group of teenagers at a park next to his home to quiet down.
"My job is to do all I can to prevent acts of violence," Danino told the Knesset committee. Effective police work is maintaining a presence and, when a crime is committed, increasing the chances that the criminal will be apprehended. These chances have increased, I set this as a goal."