Police in Paceville

Within the first three months of 2024, St Julian’s was registered as the locality with the highest number of thefts. While theft was also registered from residences, vehicles and beaches, not to mention by pickpocketing, most was registered from bars and restaurants, with some even reported in hotels.

Figures were tabled in Parliament on Tuesday by Minister for Home Affairs, Security and Employment Byron Camilleri, when asked for detailed information by Member of Parliament Graziella Galea.

Crime levels are normally expected to be higher in St Julian’s due to the ongoing activities and high levels of alcohol, among others. Furthermore, the area has lots of bars and restaurants and hotels when compared to other residential areas.

Therefore, it is natural for it to stand out among quieter villages such as, Għargħur, Mdina, Lija and Kirkop, which registered minimal thefts and similar crimes.

However, numbers were particularly staggering when compared to other popular areas such as Valletta and Sliema.

In total, theft registered in bars and restaurants amounted to 29. These included: five thefts reported from premises, one from an employee and 23 from customers. Other thefts were registered by five hotel customers and retail outlets, respectively. Specifically, retail outlets registered four cases of shop lifting and one case of theft from premises.

Generally, pick pocketing was the most reported type of theft in the locality, amounting to 60 victims. The act of ‘snatch and grab’ was also reported 15 times while there were six instances of stealing from streets and public areas.

Additionally, one theft was registered from a building site.

St Julian’s
Mugging9
Residence – Exterior1
Residence – Occupied4
Theft from beaches5
Theft from vehicle – Exterior5
Theft from vehicle – Interior4
Other theft (unspecified)14

Meanwhile, in Valletta thefts targeting bars and restaurants were significantly lower. In total, there were only two registered thefts from customers and from premises, whilst only one employee reported theft.

On the other hand, shop lifting was higher in Valletta with 10 reported cases and theft from building sites was slightly higher with two reported cases.

In addition, only five cases of pickpocketing were reported and no cases of mugging were registered.

Valletta
Bars and Restaurant customers2
Bars and Restaurant employees1
Bars and Restaurant premises2
Religious temples premises  1
Pick pocketing5
Residence – Exterior3
Residence – Occupied3
Streets and public areas5
Theft from vehicle – Interior2
Other theft (unspecified)9

Moreover, thefts in Sliema were significantly lower but more varied. This includes one case of armed robbery and a theft of a vehicle.

Unlike the previous two localities, more thefts were reported in hotels than in bars and restaurants. For instance, while fewer hotel customers (two) reported theft, a hotel reported stealing from premises while two employees were victims of the act.

Shop lifting in retail outlets was reported six times, while stealing from premises and from customers were reported once respectively.

Theft from vehicles was notably higher than the two previous localities with 10 overall thefts, seven of which were of interior items.

Sliema
Mugging2
Theft from beaches1
Theft from vehicle – Exterior3
Theft from vehicle – Interior7
Pick pocketing4
Residence – Occupied2
Streets and public areas2
Other theft (unspecified)6

Other localities suffered from thefts from Government buildings, such as Żejtun, Pietà, Paola, Naxxar and Msida, while other localities reported theft from factories including Naxxar and Msida.

Notably, a number of localities reported theft from farms and fields. These included Qrendi, Rabat, Marsaxlokk, Marsaskala and Għasri, among others.

Theft in Malta is not a recent phenomenon. However, in a recent report by Europol on the most threatening criminal networks active in the EU, Malta was named as one of the victims of Georgian homogenous criminal networks.

The report details that Georgian criminal networks have been active in organised property crime – burglaries and robberies – mainly in Greece, Italy, Malta, Poland, Portugal and Spain.

Additionally, it notes that while “Italian mafia-style criminal networks” are often centred around Italian key members, they have activities in more than 45 countries, including Malta.

Mugging, robbery and a theft: What does it mean?  

While terms revolved around stealing are not unknown, it should be noted that each term reflects a different meaning.

For instance, the act of theft signifies the stealing of someone’s property, obviously without their consent. For example, stealing from an unknowing person’s wallet.

Conversely, in robbery, although still taking someone else’s property, the aggressor uses threat and force. For example: Threatening to use violence if not given what they want.

Mugging, although similar in nature to robbery, happens in a public place by an armed individual. For example: Using a gun to inflict fear on the victim.

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