Did Local Police Hide Crime to Make Israeli City Look Safer?

Two top officers allegedly buried complaints to lower crime figures in southern town of Kiryat Malakhi.

Two senior police officers in the southern town of Kiryat Malakhi are facing charges of severe misconduct for allegedly burying criminal complaints to artificially reduce crime figures.

The charges were brought against at a Be'er Sheva court by the Justice Ministry's police internal investigations department.

Former station commander Amir Kimhi and former community policing head Doron Danino allegedly failed to properly investigate numerous property crimes in the town and its environs in order to present figures showing a decrease in crime.

Many police officers and civilians were interviewed in the months-long investigation by the police internal affairs division, which ended several days ago.

The charge sheet describes several incidents in which Kimhi and Danino failed to investigate thefts and other property crimes.

Last year a youth club on Moshav Nir Banim was broken into. Several new space heaters were stolen and the place was vandalized. The counselor of the club, identified only as Moran, called the police. She claims that the responding officers told her upon arrival, "We can't do anything," and that she heard one officer speaking over the phone to someone else, apparently another officer, and telling him, "I don't want my name on those reports, you sign it."

Moran said the officers left the club a few minutes after they arrived, telling her that a higher-ranking officer would arrive shortly to deal with the break-in.

"The officer did come, and he told me, 'There's not a lot we can do about the break-in, all we can do is drive around near the site of the incident in the patrol car," Moran said. The officers did not record her complaint or ask her to come to the station later to submit a statement.