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Is crime increasing in Georgia?

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Thursday, September 4
During the last two weeks Georgian TV channels have actively been speaking about various murder cases that have caused fear among people concerning the increase in criminal activity in the country. The opposition United National Movement claims that the crime rate has significantly increased in the country since the large-scale amnesty in 2012. However, the current government stubbornly calls the statements “propaganda.” Recently published statistics of the Interior Ministry also suggests that the crime rate has not worsened in the country.

On the day of Mariamoba, 42-year-old Davit Kublashvili used a firearm to inflict fatal wounds on 26-year-old Vazha Narimanishvili and the Sirbiladze brothers – 20-year-old Giorgi and 24-year-old Bachuki.

On the 30th of August, a murder occurred near Avlabari Square. 35-year-old movie director/DJ Dachi Darchia was stabbed to death with a knife. As a result of a joint investigation, operatives of both the First Investigative Department and the First Department of the Old Tbilisi Administration apprehended 20-year-old Mikheil G. on charges of premeditated murder. The culprit has a criminal record.

A man of Azeri origin, who was a citizen of Georgia, was killed outside a restaurant in the Lilo district of Tbilisi on September 3. The other details of the crime are yet unknown.

The Ministry of Internal Affairs of Georgia says they have already filed a criminal case under Article N108 - premeditated murder. They say the murder suspect has been identified and now the operative-search activities are underway to arrest him.

A 27 year-old Lasha Makharadze was killed on September 3. The murder occurred on Abashidze Street. People say they heard the sounds of gun fire, after which they saw a black jeep driving very fast from the place of the incident. They also say the injured man was taken to the hospital by his friends, but the doctors were unable to save him. The man died in surgery.

The motive of the murder is unknown. The police worked at the murder scene throughout the night.

It is a short list of murders that have taken place in the country recently. Unlike the majority members, the wife of Defense Minister Natia Panjikidze admits that there is a poor situation in the country and people suffer from serious physiological problems.

“It is fact that we need help, the number of murders even within a week means that we are ill and we need treatment,” Panjikidze writes on her Facebook page, adding that psychological and sport activities should be much encouraged in the country.

PhD Tornike Shurghulaia focuses on other problems as well. He wrote that he had witnessed a case when people had a dangerous argument outside one famous restaurant, there were even gun shots. However, not a single patrol police car passed during for 2 hours.

“It seems that the patrol police are just focused on drivers,” Shurghulaia said, adding for The Messenger that such facts take place quite often near the Babilo Restaurant in Dighomi, and people living nearby are really irritated and worried.

Eka Beselia from the Georgian Dream coalition says that the statements over the increased crime rate are just rumors.

“It is incorrect. Our statistics paint a different picture. As for responsibility, no one will take responsibility for the future action of an amnestied man,” Beselia said.

Commenting on the murder cases, Vice Premier Kakhi Kaladze said that law- enforcement should be more active in fighting crime and have zero tolerance in this regard.