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#5 - JRL 7016
Russians show greater confidence in Interior Ministry
January 13, 2003

Public confidence in the Russian Interior Ministry grew considerably last year, Interior Minister Boris Gryzlov said.

He told journalists on Monday that this follows from the number of inquiries from citizens. In 2002, the number of inquiries from citizens filed with the Main Directorate of Inner Security regarding violations by law-enforcers trebled.

"Our citizens boldly report the problems they see in the work of Interior Ministry officials", Gryzlov said.

In his words, "these inquiries concern problems connected not only with crimes that have been committed but lead to the solution of new ones".

The minister said the total number of crimes last year decreased.

"The number of crimes in 2002 dropped by 14 percent", he said.

At the same time, Gryzlov noted that the number of audacious crimes increased, including terrorist acts.

The Interior Ministry created a special unit for combating such crimes. "In 2002, a large number of terrorist acts were prevented. Police seized explosives from automobiles, detained terrorists, found arms caches", the minister said.

Combating illegal drug trafficking was one of the main areas of the ministry's work in 2002. Last week alone, law-enforcement agencies prevented the delivery of 100 kilograms of heroin in three Russian regions as a result of a special operation and infiltration of agents into an international criminal group.

Gryzlov noted that the leadership of his ministry pays special attention to dealing with runaway children. In March of last year, the Interior Ministry created a special inter-agency body to deal with this problem. As a result, crime among minors decreased by 23 percent last year.

According to the minister, more than a million of teen-agers were taken to police stations, and "the recurrence rate did not exceed 10 percent".

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