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29 Jan, 2024 08:04

Ukrainians fueling increase in Poland’s crime rate – Rzeczpospolita newspaper

More than 17,000 legal violations were committed by foreign nationals in the country in 2023, according to police data
Ukrainians fueling increase in Poland’s crime rate – Rzeczpospolita newspaper

The influx of Ukrainian refugees to Poland since the start of the conflict between Moscow and Kiev has had a negative impact on crime in the country, the Rzeczpospolita newspaper has reported, citing data it received from the police.

A total of 17,278 violations of the law were committed by foreigners in Poland last year, 2,400 more than in 2022, the paper said in an article entitled “The Dark Side of Migration,” published last week. In 2013, the figure stood at just 3,500, the outlet noted.

Ukrainians were responsible for more than a half of the crimes, followed by citizens of Georgia and Belarus, police data suggested, according to the paper.

One in three violations was related to alcohol abuse and drunk driving. There were 4,898 such cases last year, with Ukrainian citizens reportedly involved in 70% of them. Driving while intoxicated is becoming a “growing problem” in Poland, with the high level of alcohol detected in blood samples from the perpetrators “surprising” even experienced police officers, the paper wrote.

Many migrants also fail to observe court-ordered bans over drunk driving. In 2023, 871 foreigners, 518 of them Ukrainians, were charged with driving while banned, which is punishable by up to three years behind bars. According to police figures, there were only 400 such incidents in 2022.

Some foreign nationals feel impunity as they are not citizens of the country, traffic expert Wojciech Apiary told Rzeczpospolita.

”There are 2.5 million Ukrainian citizens in Poland, so this phenomenon has to be related to this” fact, Miroslaw Skorka from the Association of Ukrainians in Poland said. The Ukrainians might be “drinking more” and getting behind the wheel due to “cultural” reasons, he suggested.

According to police data, the number of thefts and drug-related crimes by foreigners also went up in Poland last year, reaching 3,240 and 2,451 respectively. In 208 cases, perpetrators were caught with “significant amounts” of narcotics on them.

”We have more and more foreigners. In their own countries, they’re often afraid to break the law, but in Poland they believe themselves to be guests, to whom more is allowed,” Professor of Criminology Brunon Holyst said, calling for social campaigns to explain the consequences of violating the law.