Even though the numbers of serious crimes in Italy have decreased in past years, Italians feel more and more insecure. According to a new report on crime released by the national statistics agency, Istat, the number of Italians who feel at risk of being robbed or attacked rose by 7 percent between 2003 and 2006.
‘In reality, since the beginning of the 90s many types of crime such as car theft have registered a decrease. Murders have also dropped...The perception of crime rates relies more on the widespread nature and visibility of crimes than on their seriousness', Istat said.
Istat also pointed out that Italy's growing perception of crime coincides with the growing immigrant population in the country. This assertion is backed by a recent poll published in the national daily, La Repubblica, which suggests that most Italians support the government's controversial security package. Approximately 63 per cent of respondents said they were in favour of allowing citizens from other European Union (EU) countries to stay in Italy for over three months only if they have enough income and inform the authorities of their whereabouts. Fifty-eight percent said they agreed with expropriating properties that are rented to illegal immigrants, and 56 percent would allow immigrants to reunite with their relatives only after a DNA test has been performed.
The government's recently proposed law-and-order package has recently received harsh criticism from both the Council of Europe, which upholds human rights standards in the EU, and the European Parliament.
Meanwhile, Interior minister Roberto Maroni recently announced that the government will resolve the issue of unauthorised gypsy camps in Italy ‘by the end of the year'. Prefects will be given special powers to deal with the issue at local level.