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ORF say police paint false picture

The Local · 28 Aug 2015, 11:36

Published: 28 Aug 2015 11:36 GMT+02:00

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The unusual report into police press releases was broadcast Wednesday night during the ORF's ZiB3 prime-time news programme.

They backed up the accusation with an in-depth investigation that showed that out of 200,000 criminal complaints a year in Vienna, there were 2,000 press releases.

The ORF reporter Constanze Ertl then cited a report that took apart every complaint and discovered that 622 of the 200,000 criminal reports were handbag thefts, and 647 were allegations of rape.

"In only 15 cases were the press releases about rapes," she said. "Yet 130 press releases were about handbag thefts."

She also reported that 100 percent of the reported raids on jewellers had resulted in press releases.

Arguing her case for more press releases about rapes, she said the police decision on which press releases to send presented "a false picture of criminality in the city".

'No attempt to hide anything' say police

A spokesman for the police claimed, however, that the ORF had mixed up two “completely different things”.

"Every year we publish statistics which recognises the level of criminality in the city,” says Vienna police spokesman Johann Golob. “This is published at the end of the year and includes everything from a snatched handbag through to a rape. This has absolutely nothing to do with the half a dozen press releases that we send each day about things that have happened over the last 12 hours."

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"These press releases are sent out to let people know via the media the sort of thing that is going on around the city and they do not in any way reflect the big picture of crime."

"There is no attempt to hide anything, it's just a different job."

He added that the reason rapes are not as routinely communicated to the media as handbag thefts is because with rape cases there are many other considerations to take into account, such as the rights of the witness or victim.

He added: "In fact we only ever report about rapes to the media when we really need help from the public about something specific, for example if there is a picture of a suspect that we want to trace."

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