Crime in Prague down 10 percent

The city has been seeing an overall drop in crime for almost a decade

Crime is dropping in Prague, and was at its lowest since 1991. The Metropolitan Police last year dealt with 50,726 crimes, which was 10.1 percent fewer than in 2016. The level is about 40 percent of what it was in 1998.

The police resolved 23.22 percent of the crimes, which is similar to previous years but the lowest level since 2014.

Overall, crime has been falling since 1998, when there were 120,166 recorded crimes. There were slight spikes in 2002, 2009, 2011 and 2013. The spike in 2013, up 13.4 percent over the previous year, was the largest. It was due to an amnesty by then-president Václav Klaus, which put a significant number of criminals back on the street.

Most crimes have traditionally occurred in the center of Prague, with the lowest number of crimes occurring in the city’s peripheral areas.

Theft is the most common crime, Thefts calculated together accounted for 50.6 percent of crimes. Robbery accounted for an additional 9.8 percent.

Pickpocketing, which is counted under theft statistics, accounted for 14.5 percent of crime. It is a specific condition to Prague, as some 64.5 percent of pickpocketing in the entire country happens in Prague, which has 12 percent of the Czech population.

Deputy Police Director Ivan Smékal said pickpocketing was the one crime that is not experiencing a long-term decline. The resolution rate is also low, just 3 percent.

In 1991, there were 3.047 reported cases of pickpocketing, while in 2017 there were 7,313. This was also an increase over 2016, but lower than the peak of 9,742 in 2006.

Only 226 cases were resolved in 2017, but that is nine more than in 2016 and the highest number of solved cases in almost a decade.

The issue, according to Smékal, is that the pickpockets often are gangs from other countries and they vanish to another location before they are caught. Tracking them requires international cooperation.

Another large area was an economic crime, which took up 12.6 percent of all cases in 2017. The 6,328 cases were 15.9 percent fewer compared to 2016, but the resolution rate was also lower, Some 2,124 cases were resolved, a drop 32.4 percent year-on-year.

Murder makes up far less than one percent of crime, with just 22 cases in Prague last year, two more than the previous year. The resolution rate is very high, with some 21 cases solved. The remaining one is a case in Prague 5 that the police suspect is a murder-suicide, but that has not yet been proven.

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