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Monthly crime statistics not to be published

By Tea Mariamidze
Tuesday, December 20
Georgia’s Minister of Internal Affairs, Giorgi Mgebrishvili, stated on Monday that the Ministry would not publishthe monthly statistics of crime any more.

Mgebrishvili made the statement in response to some Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) who criticize the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) for not publishing the crime statistics at the end of each month.

The Minister told reporters that the law does not oblige the Interior Ministry to publish the statistics on a monthly basis.

“Previously it was said by the MIA that crime statistics would be published every month. However, I have made a decision that the statistics will not be published anymore,” he stated.

He explained that there was too much pressure on the ministry over the issue. Mgebrishvili noted that the statistics had become the subject of speculations and the data would be published only at the end of each year.

“We are not hiding anything…the statistics will be counted at the end of the year, as in all civilized countries of the world,” the Minister stressed.

Prior to Mgebrishvili’s decision, the Institute for Development of Freedom of Information (IDFI) NGO 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.

Moreover, the IDFI said the lack of access to crime statistics raised doubts that such inconsistent publication was related to the content of the data. The NGO called on the MIA to publish the statistics every month.

Georgia’s Deputy Interior Minister Shalva Khutsishvili explained to the NGOs on Friday that the publication of statistics was the responsibility of the National Statistics Service of Georgia (geostat) and claimed the Ministry regularly sent the monthly data to the agency.

The last time the MIA published crime statistics on its web page was January 2016.