Intifada, Polarized Society Blamed for Rise in Drug Crimes, Violence

The intifada and an increasingly polarized society were blamed by officials this week for the steep rise in drug offenses and violent crimes.

Police Inspector General David Kraus offered some alarming statistics for Jerusalem, in a review of the past year that he presented at a news conference here.

A criminal offense occurs every two minutes. Every hour, violence is perpetrated against some person. Every 2.5 minutes, property is stolen or damaged.

There is a traffic accident every 32 minutes, and every 18 hours one proves fatal, Kraus said.

There was a 61.5 percent rise in last year’s murder rate over the previous year. There were 105 homicides in Jerusalem in 1989, compared to 65 in 1988, the police inspector said.

The intifada was the main contributor, a breakdown of statistics showed.

About a third of the murder cases were plainly criminal. About 14.3 percent had nationalistic motives, and 15.2 percent of the victims were Arabs slain because they were suspected of collaborating with the Israeli authorities.

Were it not for the intifada, the murder rate actually would have declined last year, police statistics show.

Commissioner Yehoshua Caspi, head of the national investigation division, reported a 50 percent rise in the number of police files opened on drug offenses.

He said he is particularly disturbed by the increased consumption of hard drugs, mainly heroin.

Last year, the police confiscated some 200 pounds of heroin and more than 13,000 pounds of hashish.

Kraus attributed many of these problems to the growing polarization in society.

He said the police are facing tough times ahead in dealing with these trends, because of shortages of personnel.

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