Thefts by Roma minors have become a nightmare for many shopkeepers and professionals.
Most of the time they hang around restaurant tables trying to get even electronic cigarettes while others try to steal from food stores.
Recently, there has been a rapid increase in incidents in Patras, while complaints about delinquent behavior and incidents – not to a large extent – also exist in schools.
As the President of the Union of Police Officers of Achaia, Haris Tsitsikas, says speaking to thebest.gr, “recently we have noticed an increase in the phenomenon of juvenile delinquency. In one case, it concerns the Roma who are more prone to theft and burglary. On the other hand, incidents between minors also occur in schools, not as often as in Athens. In addition to the police acting repressively, the State should also give a basis to these serious phenomena and deal with them”.
As Mr. Tsitsikas points out, “the Immediate Action Center receives daily telephone complaints about juvenile delinquency phenomena. Thefts and burglaries are the most common for Roma minors who take advantage of overcrowding and either employ the elderly or steal through unsecured doors. Many times they also enter food stores with their parents. While they are pretending to be customers, the minors go around the store and try to take advantage of the fact that all eyes are on the parents to steal. With quick movements, they remove things from shops in the center of Patras. In cases where citizens are indignant and are more aggressive towards minors, they then receive visits from relatives in very wild moods.
Typical is the case in a mini market in the area of Agia last week where the owner of the mini market after receiving a small raid by minors trying to grab products, was then attacked by 5 adult Roma who went to “clean” as a result end up in the hospital.
We are concerned daily with the Roma population group. We cannot blame an entire group, but there is an increase in delinquency incidents. These are children from 7 to 11 years old. We intervene many times, sometimes the juvenile perpetrators are arrested, but the legal framework is such that most of the time there is no penalty. In schools, although there are complaints, the situation is still under control and is in middle schools and high schools.”