YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan) — Armenia’s Minister of Interior and National Security Serge Sargsian addressed the issue of the rising crime rate in the country during a news conference on Wednesday.
In 1996–the crime rate jumped 23 percent from that of the previous year. The number of crimes reported in 1995 increased by only 2.2 percent from the previous year.
Sargsian also said that in 1996 the index of crime exposure dropped from 81 percent to 79 percent. As of last Sunday–5,037 criminals are wanted by Armenian law enforcement agencies.
Sargsian announced that at present–the Interior and National Security Ministry es are investigating several major crimes. According to preliminary estimations–the damage caused by these crimes totaled $10 million.
He also stressed that the fight against crime must be strengthened but it also must stay within the limits of the law.
In January 1997 and through 1996 a total of 238 corrupt officers were fired from the Interior Ministry. Criminal proceedings were instituted against 53 former Interior Ministry employees.
Sargsian said that law enforcement agencies will become more efficient after a few changes are enacted.
Sargsian also reported that in the last two years–the Armenian counterintelligence services detained 10 secret agents–including those from Azeri intelligence services. Four of the detainees were Armenian nationals–whereas the rest were citizens of oth!
er countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States.
Sargsian reported that Armenia cooperates with CIS law enforcement agencies in a joint effort against organized crime and in searching for criminals.