Top police commanders said Wednesday that the crime situation in the Arab sector is particularly bad, but insisted that police are doing a better job of solving murders in that sector than in the past.
According to Maj.-Gen. Bentzi Sau, Central District Commander, his district solved ten murder cases in the Arab sector in 2011, compared to only two in 2010.
"Part of this stems from learning our lessons professionally and improving our operational abilities," he explained. "Another part is improved technical instruments that the police have absorbed and are using. There are also organizational changes; we have added investigative squads that investigate serious crime."
"Most of the Arab population that lives inside the Central District is normative and law abiding," he stressed. "However, I am not ignoring the serious data regarding criminal gangs and crime organizations of Israeli Arabs that reside within Central District. Their part in serious crime is very meaningful and the scope of their crimes is very large."
Police Commissioner Lt. Gen. Yochanan Danino also addressed the subject of Arab crime Wednesday, in a speech before policemen of the Central District: "We must improve the personal security level… in the general public – but in the Arab public especially, where the situation is particularly bad," he said.
Data released by the Ministry of Public Security shows that in 2011, Arabs – who make up less than 20% of Israel's citizens – were the perpetrators in 67% of the murder cases and in 70% of the attempted murders, as well as 52% of the arson cases and 36% of the robberies.
While crime in general was on the decline in Israel in 2011, it spiked by 8% in the Arab sector. Of 126 people murdered in 2009, 61 were Arabs. In 41% of 7,097 police investigations regarding aggravated assault, the suspect was an Arab. According to the police statistics, while there are relatively few complaints regarding domestic violence in the Arab sector, the actual incidence of the problem is much higher among Arabs than in the rest of the population.