Istanbul is Europe’s third and world’s 21st biggest city. As researches demonstrates, if these trends continue, Istanbul will be the most crowded city of Europe by 2020. Despite its population of more than 12 million people as well as the mass of visitors coming from various different countries, the city is enlisted among the safest cities in the world despite its highly dense population. This gives a sense of peace to citizens and visitors alike as the city’s historical heritage carries them through the ages.
According to the available data, one of every 66 people in Istanbul is involved in a crime. This is compared to one of 14 people in Budapest, one of seven people in Vienna, one of eight people in Luxembourg, one of 34 people in Sofia, and one of six people in Berlin. The research conducted by the EU Crime and Security Consortium, exposes however that 18% of people in Istanbul become victoms of a crime as compared to 32% in London, 27% in Amsterdam, 26% in Belfast and Dublin, 24% in Copenhagen, 23% in New York and Stockholm, 20% in Brussels, 19% in Rome. While total public crimes were recored as 148,165 in 2005 in Istanbul, there were 262,176 in Berlin, 1,015,121 in London, and 200,177 in Paris.
Crime rates in Istanbul, however, have been considerably lowered during the past three years as the result of successful operations by law enforcement units and by the use of MOBESE (acronym for Integrated Mobile Electronic System of CCTV). When compared with the first four months of 2007-2008, there has been a decline of 21% in general crimes, 38% in homicide, swindling, and 59% in pick-pocketing.
MOBESE is a “City Information and Security System” enacted under the Istanbul Security Department with the support of Istanbul’s Governorship. With the 584 modern cameras installed in several of Istanbul’s streets and squares with the aim of enhancing public services, facilitating administrative functions, and further decreasing crime rates.
Twelve different systems, including 952 quarters, 3,500 police vehicles, 150 mobile police station units, the foundation of Province and District Command Centers, and City Security Directorate, were integrated with MOBESE. Starting with the emergency services, the other institutions are planned to be integrated into the system as necessary.