Friday, January 19, 2007

Vatican City: Hotbed For Crime?

.

The top crime neighborhood in the world isn't in Sao Paulo or Lagos. It's not the Bronx in New York, or even Wedding in Berlin. It's the small city ruled by Pope Benedict XVI, which apparently sees more criminal cases per capita than any other part of the world.

Rampant crime: Pickpockets on St. Peter's Square can just trot over an international border into Italy.
Zoom
REUTERS

Rampant crime: Pickpockets on St. Peter's Square can just trot over an international border into Italy.

The Vatican's attorney general Nicola Picardi released the astounding statistic at the start of 2007: The tiny nation's justice department in 2006 had to contend with 341 civil and 486 criminal cases. In a population of 492, that measures out to 1.5 cases per person -- twenty times the corresponding rate in Italy.

By this measurement at least, crime is soaring in the Vatican in spite of a security force that would put a police state to shame. The seat of the Catholic Church has one Swiss guard for every four citizens, not to mention museum guards and police assigned to the Vatican by Italy.

Picardi did say that most criminal cases were matters of pickpocketing or purse-snatching. The rest amounted to other petty crimes like fraud and forgery -- committed not by kleptomaniacal nuns but by a handful of black sheep among the 18 million pilgrims and tourists who visit St. Peter's Cathedral, St. Peter's Square and the Vatican Museums every year. About 90 percent of these crimes go unpunished, which is not a measure of Christian mercy but a sign of the perpetrators' favorite method of escape. They can break for the border -- a few meters away -- to Italy. [....Snip] Der Spiegel

Post a Comment