Police Bolster Patrols in Lod to Address City's Crime Spike

Seven people have been killed on the streets of the central Israeli city since January, compared to four in all of 2018

Lod residents demonstrate against violence in their city, July 30, 2019.
\ Moti Milrod

Police began Tuesday to heighten their presence in Lod in the wake of a rise in gun violence and murders in the central Israel city.

Seven people have been killed on the streets of Lod since January, compared to four in all of 2018.

Police plan to reinforce their presence on the streets in order to give residents a sense of security. Raids in areas where suspected criminals live are also on the agenda. City authorities will also step up enforcement against business crime, and crack down on such businesses as unlicensed garages and illegal slaughterhouses.

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Ami Eshed, the Central District commander of the Israel Police, said officers would increase their patrols, in part through the deployment of personnel from the Border Police and the force’s Traffic Department.

Similar operations have been launched recently in other predominantly Arab communities in Israel, including Tira, Kalansua and the Juarish neighborhood of Ramle.

A 50-year-old woman was wounded in a drive-by shooting in Lod Monday. Police have determined that the intended target was a drug dealer, and that the woman’s car was caught in the crossfire.

Last week a 9-year-old girl suffered moderate gunshot injuries, also in a drive-by shooting.

Four suspects have been arrested in that incident, some of them relatives of the wounded girl.

Police believe the suspects hid out in the home of one of the four in the West Bank Palestinian village of Salfit, near Ariel.

Police said the girl’s older sister, who was sitting next to her when she was shot, was the intended target of the shooting. Detectives believe a wedding that had been called off was the motive for the shooting.

“There’s an intolerable accumulation of incidents,” a senior figure in the Central District said. “People are hurt whose only crime was being at the wrong time in the wrong place. We will get tougher with the offending families.”

The source said residents of Lod had asked for more police forces.

“I expect the police to deploy in significant numbers in the city on a permanent basis in the coming months in order to beef us deterrence and residents’ sense of safety,” Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan said during a visit to Lod Sunday.

“A woman who feels threatened must be at the top of the police’s priority list, ahead of every criminal, crime gang or anyone else,” Erdan said.

During the first half of the year, the Israel Police made 1,862 arrests for illegal possession, use or trade in firearms, according to figures released by the force. Half of the people arrested were from northern Israel.

During this period, 528 indictments were issued for gun crimes. Police made 842 arrests in shootings in densely populated areas.

Police confiscated 341 pistols, 65 submachine guns, 256 rifles and other weapons, as well as dozens of explosive devices, 123 fragmentation and gas grenades, and a large amount of ammunition.