Words and good intentions seem to be all Prodi and his ministers have to offer to improve the country's security. In the long dead twelve point program the left presented before the elections, law enforcement and crime detection were among the main issues along which the new cabinet was supposed to outline its strategy. Also, in a press conference held in may, meant to set out the Cabinet's first year of activity, Romano Prodi once again stated that "fighting crime and increase security are among the Government's priorities".
However, the concrete steps taken by the left in this direction can be counted on the fingers of one hand while the recently approved financial law has drastically cut the funds destined to law enforcement, as pointed out by senator Sergio De Gregorio, President of the high chamber Defence Committee, who stressed the urgent need to beef up the country's security apparatuses. The call has yet remained unheeded, given that none of the left's leading lights has even proposed to assign part of the increased tax revenue to security.
Still, according to the figures released by the EU report: "Crime and Security in the EU", Italian citizens are those who, after the greeks, are most concerned for their security at home, and occupy the third place in the list of those most scared to walk around their cities. This perception is certainly, in part, the outcome of the pardon which brought to the release of some 42.000 detainees in the summer of 2006.
A direct result of the lefts' inability to tackle the issue seems also the steep increase in citizens who choose a "do it yourself" approach to security, as proved, for example, by a 5.4% rise in the number of private companies working in the field, and a 50% increase in the release of gun licences in the Milano area.
In this picture, the data in the first report on the state of criminality, expected to be published on Wednesday by deputy interior minister Marco Minniti, will likely represent one more proof of the left's inertia on one of the issues dearest to the people.