12 July, the Mayor of Limassol hosted a meeting on security issues attended by the Mayor of Nikos Nikolaidis, the Chief of the City Police Nikos Niku, the Deputy Chief of Police for Operations, Michalis Katsunotos, the Head of the Criminal Investigations Department Yanakis Sotiriadis, representatives of the Coordination Council of Russian Compatriots of Cyprus, residents of Gorizont and the Association of Russian Businessmen in Cyprus, representative of the largest online community of Russian-speakers Lei Cyprus, employees and readers of the newspaper "Bulletin of Cyprus". The initiator and moderator of the meeting was the editor-in-chief of the "Bulletin of Cyprus" Natalia Kardash.
The idea of such a conversation between representatives of the media and the public with the authorities arose amid discrepancies between statistical data on the crime situation in Limassol and information from residents in social networks.
The editorial board of the "Bulletin of Cyprus" asked readers: what problems are connected with law and order, they are most concerned about. As a result, the initiative group of residents of Limassol was determined, as well as a range of issues.
In preparation for the meeting, a wide range of topics were discussed: the sale of alcohol to adolescents, noise in the streets at night, street robberies, begging, cruelty to animals, crimes on the roads, but the most pressing issues were burglary and drug trafficking among minors. They were included in the agenda.
Readers who were directly affected by the problem of burglaries said that after the accession of Cyprus to the EU, the number of crimes increased sharply and the level of "professionalism" of criminals increased. People no longer feel safe at home and on the streets, especially at night, less trust in law enforcement officials, do not know what actions the police should take at the crime scene, where and how to find out about the progress of the investigation, what actions are legal in the framework of the investigation self-defense.
Mayor of Limassol Nikos Nikolaidis noted that the task of the city authorities is to make the multinational and multicultural Limassol the safest place for living. He stressed that the Russian-speaking diaspora is the most numerous in Limassol, and it is necessary to establish constant interaction and mutual understanding with it. The mayor called such meetings very important and suggested making them regular at the level of representatives from the municipality, police and Russian-speaking residents of the city.
Deputy police chief for operational work Michalis Katsunotos spoke about the Neighborhood Watch program, thanks to which more than 50 thousand people are interacting with law enforcement agencies today. Police representatives said they were ready to cooperate more with the Russian-speaking residents of Limassol, and exchanged contacts for the creation of an initiative group.
The second important issue raised at the meeting was the availability of drugs in schools. What is being done to stop this and punish people who sell drugs to children or persuade them to try it? In addition to questions, VC readers also had concrete proposals: regularly conduct explanatory lessons, create social advertising and hold a festival under the motto "No to Drugs."
Detailed reports on the meeting will be published on the pages of the VC from 1 August and on the site vksyprus.com.
The editorial staff of the VK is grateful to the mayor's office and the police of Limassol and personally to all our interlocutors, as well as the readers of the "Herald of Cyprus", who took the initiative and sent us their questions and comments in preparing this informative talk.