Economic crisis boosts crime in Bulgaria Reuters - 2009/5/20
SOFIA - Crime in Bulgaria increased this year and is set to rise further as the global economic downturn takes its toll on the European Union newcomer, a Bulgarian think-tank said on Wednesday.
Robberies and burglaries in Bulgaria are on the rise, a report by Bulgaria's non-governmental Centre for the Study of Democracy said. It showed the number of people who were victim to a crime rose three times in the first two months of the year on an annual basis.
Bulgaria, like its central and eastern European neighbours, has been hard hit by the global financial crisis as foreign investors flee emerging markets and the euro zone, its key export destination, has plunged into recession.
Crime in the big cities has already started to increase and was likely to peak at the end of the summer if the economy does not start to recover said Tihomir Bezlov, a CSD expert.
Bulgaria has been criticised by Brussels for failing to crack down on rampant graft and organised crime.
Analysts and industry officials expect the Bulgarian unemployment rate, currently 6.9 percent, to reach double digits by the end of the year as economic activity slows and many companies halt or significantly cut operations.
Economic woes have provoked anti-government protests, including several by police officers who say low salaries erode security in the Black Sea nation.