Russian expats in Cyprus demonstrate over increasing crime

Published:  16 May at 6 PM
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Increasing levels of crime in Cyprus have caused groups of Russian expats to mount demonstrations in Limassol and Paphos.

Known for its attraction for expats from colder climes, Cyprus is especially popular with elderly pensioners looking for a peaceful retirement in the sun. However, recently released reports have claimed increasing levels of crime are now centred on the island’s cities and are getting out of control due to understaffed and overworked local police. Last Monday, two groups of Russian expats took the matter into their own hands by holding protest demonstrations in Limassol and Paphos.

Organiser of the Paphos protest Irina, who wishes her surname to remain anonymous, told local media crime in her area is getting out of control, with local police unable to do anything to stamp it out. She added long-term Russian residents are now scared to leave their homes due to street violence, shootings, murders, drug related incidents and burglaries. Some have even experienced home invasions by gangs whilst they were asleep or even in another room.

Originally from Moscow, Irina has lived on the island for 18 years with her family after leaving Russia for a safer, sunnier location. Many homes, including her property in Kamares, have been burgled over the past several years, and the incidence of burglaries is now spiralling out of control. Kamares is a luxury hillside development popular with wealthy expatriates from the UK, China and Russia, all of whom chose the location for its safety and peace. Irina believes the increase in crime is the direct result of insufficient police patrols in the area.

However, Paphos police disagree, claiming the incidence of burglaries has fallen from 111 in the first quarter of 2017 to just 62 in the same quarter this year. Expats in the area believe gangs are now deliberately targeting developments which are home to wealthy expats, with Irina adding that reported burglaries often get no response from local police.

The protest group have put their complaints to Nicos Pentaras, Paphos’s head of police, who seems supportive and who will attend the group’s next meeting. In the meantime, police patrols are now seen in the area and leaflets on anti-burglary measures are being distributed. One thing’s for certain, Irina and the two groups aren’t going anywhere until the issue is fully addressed.
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