Updated: Apr 4, 2019
Assessing the Crime Rate in Israel
Submitted by Dr. Lincoln B. Sloas
In April, we celebrate Jewish culture. In this issue, I take time to discuss the crime rate of our neighbors in the Middle East…Israel. Points to consider include the crime rate in Israel. It is here we now turn.
According to the U.S. Department of State Travel Advisory, Israel, especially Tel Aviv, has been assessed as being a MEDIUM-threat location for crime directed at or affecting official U.S. government interests. Israel’s criminal incident rate per capita is lower than in many major cities in the U.S. Per 2017 Israel National Police statistics, crime trends were not linear in nature. While murder, rape, narcotics trafficking, fraud, and illegal immigration increased, aggravated battery, breaking and entering, and vehicle theft decreased.
Since 2015, U.S. government personnel assigned to Israel have reported residential burglaries, vandalism, assault, theft of personal belongings, and motor vehicle theft. Residential burglaries are common and generate heightened concern among the diplomatic community in Tel Aviv. Perpetrators have generally avoided contact with residents, but the Embassy has received reports of home invasions in neighborhoods where U.S. government housing is located. The Embassy had four homes broken into in 2015 but has since taken additional security measures to mitigate repeat occurrences.
In Herzliya in 2017, one vacant Embassy home was broken into. Security alarm systems, window grilles/shutters, exterior lighting, security patrols, quality locks, and sound residential security operational practices are all credited with reducing the occurrences of burglaries. Reports of petty theft are common, and visitors are advised to avoid leaving valuables unattended in vehicles and public places. Vehicle theft remains a concern throughout Israel. In most cases, the stolen vehicles are not recovered; often, thieves will drive the vehicles into neighboring countries and territories beyond the reach of Israeli authorities.
In 2017, the Embassy did experience one vehicle theft, which occurred at a U.S. government house; the vehicle was eventually recovered in the West Bank. High taxes on motor vehicle imports make all vehicles, including electric bicycles, attractive targets for thieves.
Despite the prevalence of property crime, violent confrontational street crime is uncommon, typically limited in severity, and confined to high-crime areas. Financial crimes and fraud schemes are common in Israel, and travelers should take precautions to secure their personal information.
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