Wednesday, January 8, 2003

Vatican issues first crime statistics report

The Vatican issued its first report on crime within the tiny city-state, saying Wednesday that the overwhelming majority of the 608 infractions committed last year were thefts and purse-snatchings.

....Nearly 3 million people visited the Vatican Museums alone last year and millions more walk through St. Peter’s Square or visit St. Peter’s Basilica. Pickpockets are often in action during papal events that draw thousands of people.No capital crimes were reported last year in the city-state, which counts 455 residents.....

Picardi’s report gave no details on individual cases. In addition to the thefts, it listed embezzlement, fraud and insults to public officials. He said the Vatican was also involved in 397 civil cases.Asked why the Vatican decided to issue the report, a spokesman, the Rev. Ciro Benedettini said, “We have nothing to hide.”

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