Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Less murders in Israel as police return to "normal" work

Despite the recent terrorist attack in Dimona and continued Kassam missile attacks on Sderot, Israel police say they actually have more time now for conducting what they consider to be normal police activities. New Head Police Inspector General Dudi Cohen disclosed that in the year 2007, the number of murders actually decreased in Israel by 21%. Although many serious crimes such as aggravated assault, robbery, and rape have not shown significant deceases, at least murders have, according to Cohen.

While murders have decreased, assaults such as stabbings by youth have increased, however; and this area is one in which the police are trying to put more efforts into. Another area in which the police will be putting more attention in is the increasing numbers of traffic violations and serious accidents, many resulting in death and serious injuries. Hardly a week goes by without these accidents being shown on TV. Many are caused by young drivers as well as by those with a history of serious traffic violations. The police are already putting more officers on the roads to give citations for traffic offenses. This might be something that senior police officers should make themselves examples of as it was just the other day that the Inspector General himself was shown driving at speeds in excess of 140 km per hour.

Another new unit, called the Magen anti-drug enforcement unit is working on combating narcotics smuggling from Egypt to Israel. Some of their new equipment includes specially equipped helicopters to spot smugglers on the ground and thus call in mobile units to apprehend them. One of their top offices, Chief Inspector Kobi Mor is the police officer who killed the second terrorist in the attack in Dimona. His unit was not far away when alerted to the scene of the terror attack.

Inspector General Cohen was appointed to his post after his predecessor was forced to resign following a number of serious allegations dealing with his connections with crime figures. The police force has had problems with other high ranking offices as well, and one of Cohen's chief tasks has been improving the image of the police in Israel.

It hasn't been an easy task. Cohen and other high ranking police and security officials attended a special conference a few months back dealing with finding ways to improve the police and security forces in Israel. The conference, entitled: To Protect and to Serve – Police and Policing in an age of terrorism and beyond, was also attended by law enforcement officials from the USA. It is hoped that new efforts and concepts will improve the efficiency of all departments of the police force in Israel.

JPost.com - Headlines