Malta’s police chief has pledged to put more uniformed officers on streets this summer.
Lawrence Cutajar was speaking after official figures showed that crime levels in St Julian’s have dramatically fallen to a 14-year low.
The good news comes after police patrols were increased in Malta’s main entertainment district, between St George’s Bay and Spinola Bay.
The police commissioner said: ‘The number of officers on patrol in St Julian’s rose from an average of 10 to 25 on a normal day and then 30 at weekends.
‘I strongly believe an increased uniformed police presence in the community works, with the main focus always being crime prevention.’
Overall, reported crime in Malta fell by an impressive 7 per cent in the past year – with murder, theft, arson and prostitution cases all down.
- A total of 15,925 offenses were committed in the Maltese Islands in 2018
- That’s a decrease of 1,211 compared to the previous 12 months
- Thefts at beaches nearly halved – to their lowest level for 14 years
- Pickpocket offences were slashed by 46 per cent – with 995 reports last year compared to 2,144 cases in 2017
Malta’s home affairs minister Michael Farrugia said: ‘This shows that something’s being done, measures are being taken.
‘The word has got around Europe, that if you go to Malta and start pickpocketing you’ll get caught and sent to prison.’
The minister added: ‘Although our population is increasing, and in 2018 we saw an unprecedented rise in tourism, the number of reported crimes has continued to fall.
‘We’d be living an illusion or on a different planet if we think that we can remove all crime.’
Drug offences rose, jumping 12 per cent to 322, and there were 1,032 reported cases of fraud, up by 245.
The annual CrimeMalta report was compiled by Professor Saviour Formosa from the University of Malta.
He said: ‘This is the second year in a row where overall reported crimes fell.
‘There’s often moral panic where certain major crimes bombard social media and there’s a perception that criminality is rife. In fact, the truth is most crimes have decreased.’
He said the crime rate in Malta was still one of the lowest in the EU.
Photos: The Malta Police Force