Vienna theft rate jumps

The number of reported thefts in public places in Vienna has almost doubled year on year.Official figures presented today (Tues) show an increase from 4,978 offences in the first nine months of 2009 to 9,211 in the same period of this year. The number is expected to soar further in the current quarter as the city’s streets are bustling with residents and tourists busy with their Christmas shopping.Statistics presented by federal police earlier this month revealed that around 65 per cent of victims of street theft are women.Crime experts explained that the number of smartly dressed crooks trying to steal from people by engaging them in conversation is on the rise. They also warned tourists not to showing their cash to alleged plain-clothed fake money controllers who are especially active in busy pedestrian areas in the centres of Austrian cities.The number of overall reported crimes in Austria declined by 9.5 per cent year on year to 385,415 between January and September.Police vowed to increase the number of officers patrolling on the streets after surveys showed last year that a majority of Austrians accused officials of not doing enough to tackle crime. Especially the number of burglaries and car thefts rose last year compared to 2008.