Cyprus Mail

Nicosia mayor says necessary to bolster police presence in old town (Updated)

The scene on Monday morning (Christos Theodorides)

Nicosia Mayor Constantinos Yiorkadjis considers it necessary to bolster police presence on the streets of old Nicosia as well the number of Arabic speaking social workers.

He noted that such measures are only the first steps which must be taken as part of a wider effort to improving the situation.

Yiorkadjis also noted greater social inclusion and better housing as fundamental changes which must occur.

“It is noted everywhere that when people are living in poor conditions that crime increases, when there is a concentration of people and without jobs we are aware this will cause problems,” he said.

One of the biggest shakeups could come from his proposal to target landlords who rent accommodation to illegal migrants.

Speaking on Tuesday on the Cybc radio show Trito, he said the municipality has suggested landlords be treated in the same way as those who employ illegal workers.

Critics have long said that predatory landlords rent out subpar accommodation to needy migrants.

On a similar note, he emphasised the need for increased health inspections in the area.

Asked as to how many foreign nationals are residing in old Nicosia, the mayor replied that he did not know the exact figure. He noted, however, that the difficulties in the area were increasing.

He said that crime was not a result of ethnicity but a result of poor living conditions.

“The municipality [in the past] asked for an increase in the role of authorities but also greater funding from the state to tackle these issues,” he said.

“The issue is not only solely focused within the walled areas of the city, but it is islandwide.”

He pointed to “unprecedented and unchecked” streams of migration towards Cyprus as compounding the issue.

The mayor’s comments were made in the wake of an attack which saw one man killed and left another in critical condition.

The incident happened at around 10pm Sunday when Ledra Street was still busy with people on an evening out. Police said around 15 people attacked a group of three with sticks and knives.

Police have launched a murder investigation and were trying to track down the people who took part in the affray.

Outgoing police chief Kypros Michaelides said they were concerned over the situation as was every person who lives and works in the area.

Cybc reported that shopkeepers in the area are calling for much greater police presence. They have complained that crime and fights reduce the profitability of their shops as people avoid the old city.


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