Friday, December 19, 2008

Crimes committed by Poles on the rise in Czech border area

The number of crimes committed by Polish citizens has increased in the Liberec vicinity since the Schengen entry last December, Liberec police spokeswoman Vlasta Suchankova told CTK Friday.

A total of 53 such crimes were reported during the first ten months of 2008, compared to 39 in the whole 2009.

The crime rate in the surroundings of the Polish town of Zgorzelec bordering on the Liberec region, has decreased, while in the German border region of Upper Lusatia-Lower Silesia more crimes, especially, car robberies have been reported since the Schengen enlargement, said Zgorzelec police chief Marek Kazimierczak and Police President of Upper Lusatia-Lower Silesia Richard Linss.

Polish perpetrators committed four robberies in the Liberec locality and in one case the robbers on escape threatened Czech policemen, injuring one of them.

"The number of fatal traffic accidents at the Frydlantsko (Czech-Polish) border crossing has increased since the enlargement of the Schengen area," Suchankova said, adding that three Polish citizens died in the accidents this autumn.

Major critic of the crime rise in the Czech-Polish border areas is Frantisek Kryspin, mayor of Habartice, north Bohemia that borders on the Polish town of Zawidow.

The Polish police from Zgorzelec conducted a poll on 270 Polish inhabitants and most of them said they feel as safe as before the opening of borders with Germany and the Czech Republic.

"Twenty-three said they fell victim to crime in the Czech Republic," Kazimierczak said.

The Czech, Polish and German police have intensified cooperation since the border checks were lifted within the Schengen area.

Czech and German policemen, for instance, jointly completed the investigation into a series of burglaries into family houses in Zittau, Germany, in 2006-2008.

The Czech border with the Upper Lusatia-Lower Silesia German region is 79 km long, while the border with the Polish Zgorzelec region is 119 kilometre long.