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Public Discussion: Dynamics of Conventional Crime in Bulgaria 2009 – 2010
On 8 June 2010 in Western Hall of the National Assembly, the Center for the Study of Democracy together with the Internal Security and Public Order Committee of the 41st National Assembly organized a public discussion entitled Dynamics of Crime in Bulgaria 2009 - 2010. The Center for the Study of Democracy presented the main results of the National Crime Survey 2010 (NCS) and the results achieved by the Ministry of Interior in relation to countering crime in 2009.

The round table was opened by Mr. Ognian Shentov, Chairman of the Center for the Study of Democracy, and Mr. Tsvetan Tsvetanov, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Interior. In his opening remarks Mr. Shentov pointed out that the National Crime Survey 2010 (NCS) gave the big picture of volume crime in Bulgaria. It is not only a sociological survey but a structured process, which compares the results of the victimization survey with police statistics. The survey as a political instrument also reflects the best European practices and enables comparability of results with those of other EU Member States.

In his statement Minister Tsvetanov praised the objectivity of the National Crime Survey (NCS) 2010. As one of the main goals to be achieved by the Ministry of Interior he outlined the reduction of the subjective factor in police work and the efforts directed towards winning the confidence of the public. In this regard a new police regulation on crime registration is being developed. He also emphasized the positive effect produced by the amendments to penal legislation and the law on the Ministry of Interior, as well as the introduction of a complex analysis of and approach to fighting crime. As important achievements, Minister Tsvetanov emphasized the work done in countering economic crime and drug proliferation, areas neglected so far.

Mr. Tihomir Bezlov, Senior analyst at the Center for the study of Democracy, presented the results of the National Crime Survey 2010. On the whole, it shows that the fear of a sharp increase in the number of crimes in a time of crisis is unfounded. Data from similar surveys in other European countries also show a similar trend. Despite the increased rates of reporting crimes by citizens there is still a high level of non-reported crime, and the police filters out significant number of reported crimes. The NCS data show decrease in the levels of categories of crimes, but at the same time Mr. Bezlov pointed out that the reasons for this decrease should be analyzed very carefully, as well as a good consideration should be given of the expected effect of the post-crisis period, the demographic problem and unemployment dynamics. Data were presented for the first time related to telephone fraud, the condition of drug markets and sex services.

Chief Commissioner Kalin Georgiev, Secretary General of the Ministry of Interior, presented the Ministry of Interior’s statistics on volume crime, the measures introduced, and the practical results achieved in countering crime. Chief Commissioner Georgiev noted that the provision of quality services to citizens in guaranteeing their security is a priority whose achievement is closely related to prevention, as well as increasing the motivation and improving the working conditions for the Ministry of Interior employees. In his closing remarks Kalin Georgiev underlined that the Center for the Study of Democracy is a barometer of the expectations and attitudes of the public towards the police. “We complement each other, we are united around the idea that the existing consent between the public and private sectors is a mechanism for collaboration to be used on a daily basis.”

Mr. Anastas Anastasov, Chairman of the Internal Security and Public Order Committee, stated that the more adequate legislative decisions taken last year had proven their efficiency in the results already achieved in police work. There are new legislative changes lying ahead which will contribute to the further enhancement of the fight against crime.

Mr. Hristo Grigorov, Chairman of the Bulgarian Red Cross, analyzed the juvenile crime. He focused on children who, after leaving foster homes, find themselves on the street and easily turn delinquent. There is for broad-based partnerships in the development of programs directed to their socialization and delinquency prevention. Mr. Grigorov underlined that there was variety of EU funds that could provide financing for such socialization projects. Public organizations in Bulgaria should join efforts in making best use of these resources.

Mr. Vladislav Slavov, a representative of the Lawyers’ Union, drew attention to the need for a speedy completion of a Uniform Information System for Countering Crime. Its implementation, he argued, would lead to a tangible improvement in the results of investigative authorities. According to Mr. Savov one of the reasons for the discrepancy between statistical data and the non-reported crime problem as well as the police filters is the lack of a uniform methodology for registration and accountability of crime.

Mr. Valery Parvanov, Deputy Chief Prosecutor, underlined the objectivity of the NCS and the outlined trends. He emphasized the role of crime prevention. In his opinion a new subject called State Law or Law Basics should be introduced in the school curriculum. It would provide students with training related to conduct rules in society. Mr. Parvanov also called for the introduction of a system for adequate punishment for repeat offenders.

Prof. Stoyan Kushlev, Chairman of the Commission for Establishing of Property Acquired from Criminal Activity (CEPACA), called for the introduction of new legislation directed towards crime prevention for repeat offenders. In a number of European countries, he explained, that criminal lifestyle could be a trigger for asset confiscation, regardless of whether the particular crime for which the defendant is investigated falls under the categories of crimes that trigger asset forfeiture procedures. Therefore, assets belonging to repeat offenders who have been convicted only for petty crimes, could also be confiscated.

In the closing remarks Minister Tsvetanov underlined the need for a more precise work of the court in ruling out bails, as well as interagency cooperation in countering crime.

Agenda (Adobe PDF, 97,1 KB )
Presentation: Dynamics of Conventional Crime in Bulgaria 2009-2010, Tihomir Bezlov
National Crime Survey Synopsis (Adobe PDF, 97,5 KB) )
Slide Presentation: Crime Trends in Bulgaria, Kalin Georgiev
Presentation: Crime Trends in Bulgaria, Kalin Georgiev
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