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Interior Ministry rejects criticism over crime statistics

By Tea Mariamidze
Monday, December 19
Georgia’s Deputy Interior Minister, Shalva Khutsishvili, met with representatives of various Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) and media outlets and introduced crime statistics methodology, after being criticized by the third sector for the incomplete spread of data about crime statistics in Georgia.

The Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) initiated the meeting after one of the NGOs Institute for Development of Freedom of Information (IDFI) published its report several days ago about MIA crime statistics and stated that compared to the previous two years, the highest crime rate was registered during the recent 9 month of 2016.

The IDFI also said that since January 2016, the MIA stopped publishing monthly crime statistics on its webpage.

“Lack of access to such information raises doubts that such inconsistent publication of data by MIA is related to the content of the statistical data,” the report of the IDFI reads.

Moreover, the IDFI says it was not invited to the meeting with the MIA.

“Many other organizations were invited to the meeting except us. Maybe they did not want to speak with an organization which has the most questions over the crime statistics and its reliability,” IDFI Programs Director Levan Avalishvili stressed.

Meanwhile, Shalva Khutsishvili says the IDFI was invited but they decided not to participate. He also explains that the crime rate increased because calls to the police has increased during the recent months.

The Deputy Interior Minister says the crime statistics methodology excludes possibility of statistics falsification, as it is calculated by a special electronic program.

“We do not have any technical means to change or falsify the statistics,” he added.

Khutsishvili says that the publication of statistics is the responsibility of the National Statistics Service of Georgia (Geostat) and claims the Ministry regularly sends its monthly data to the agency.

He said the whole data of crime statistics would be published at the end of the year.

The IDFI published its report over crime statistics on December 14. The organization says that the crime rate, compared to the previous year, increased by 1394 cases.

Nine-month data of IDFI revealed that the most cases were observed in the following groups: crimes against life (743 cases); crimes against health (3660 cases); crimes against human rights and freedoms (536); crimes against public safety and order (1543 cases); vehicle accidents (2725 cases).

In the report, the IDFI gave several recommendations to MIA and called on the Ministry to publish crime statistics at the end of each month, to create a crime map and to explain what caused the rise of crime rate in 2016.