Crisis: Greece awash in crime and guns

Kalashnikovs the weapon of choice

05 July, 17:32

(ANSAMed) - ATHENS, JULY 5 - As in every recession, crime is on the rise in Greece, and handgun sales are rising along with it. The country is averaging 10 armed conflicts a month between police and thieves, and 35 people have died in armed robberies in the first six months of 2012, according to police sources. More than 40 armed gangs have been demolished in the past two years, but 15 gangs are still out there robbing banks, stores and homes. Greece averages 7,000 armed robberies a year, or 20 a day, and the weapon of choice is the Kalashnikov machine gun, according to To Vima weekly. ''We import them from Albania along with other weapons, usually hidden among livestock,'' one arms trafficker who asked to remain anonymous told To Vima. ''There are over 1000 Kalashnikov deposits all over Athens, and we sell them in small quantities.

The most expensive is the Glock, at 4,000 euros, the Zastava model costs 1,000 euros and the folding ones between 1,200-1,500 euros.'' There are 600,000 Kalashnikov machine guns in circulation in Greece, and demand is on the rise due to increased police presence on the streets, the anonymous arms trafficker explained.

Law-abiding citizens, usually ones who have already been victims of a robbery or a mugging, are also arming themselves, mostly with rubber bullet weapons.

''Arms sales rose 60% in the past few months, and arms importers have exhausted their stocks,'' Andreas Plastourgos, owner of a gun shop in the working class Athens neighborhood of Peristeri told Newsitgr. (ANSAMed).

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