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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Crime Statistics Tell A Disconcerting Tale

Crime is increasing sharply on Moscow's streets, and police are unable to fight back effectively. This widespread public perception received statistical confirmation from an Interior Ministry report.

Local police logged almost 80, 000 crimes in 1992, a 24 percent increase over last year. Perhaps even more worrying is data that shows more than half of the cases went unsolved.

Police performance was particularly poor in the area of violent crimes, where less than 20 percent of the attackers were imprisoned.

Overall, Moscow saw an increase in unsolved cases by nearly 30 percent in 1992, according to the Interior Ministry report "Statistical Information on the Criminal Situation in the Russian Federation for 1992".

Such increases, in a country where draconian police measures once terrorized criminals, has Muscovites fearing for their safety.

"Among the personal problems worrying Muscovites during 1992, after the problem of the standard of living and earnings, is the criminal situation in the capital, mass fear, and uncertainty about safety for oneself and dear ones", concludes pollster Nugzar Betaneli.

Not only are people worried, they are pessimistic about the success of government efforts to fight crime, according to Betaneli, who conducts weekly polls of 1, 000 Muscovites from his Institute of Sociological Parliamentism.

In a series of recent polls, about 60 percent of city residents said they do not believe that either Mayor Yury Luzhkov or President Boris Yeltsin will succeed in their intentions to curtail criminal activities.

An instant source of pessimism can be found in the city's murder statistics for 1992, up 84. 6 percent to 925 deaths in 1992, the Interior Ministry said. Moscow's assault, robbery, and street crimes rates all rose sharply as well in 1992.

The major fuel for felonies, not surprisingly, is economic hard times, according to Gennady Khokhryakov, a criminologist who teaches at Moscow's Law Institute.

In the Interior Ministry report, there were a few hopeful areas in which reported crimes actually fell in 1992. Most significant among these is rape, which, by official statistics, fell 9. 4 percent to 368 cases. Stealing from the workplace also fell in the 1992, as did "economic crimes", largely because what was once illegal is now considered healthy enterprise.

To check last year's increase in most areas of serious crime, society must do more than just increase police patrols, argues criminologist Khokhryakov. Rather, it must develop a general system of values that is lacking in Russia's current anarchic environment.

"How can we fight crime and criminals when all our rich people made their money from criminal ways? " he said.