The economic crisis contributed to a growth in crimes committed by migrants but overall crime dropped sharply last year, Moscow police chief Vladimir Kolokoltsev said Wednesday.
The number of crimes committed by migrants rose by 7 percent to 54,600 cases, or 48.6 percent of the total number of solved crimes, Kolokoltsev said at a news conference, Interfax reported.
"Many people from other cities who had come to work in the capital at the moment when the crisis started found themselves without jobs," Kolokoltsev said, RIA-Novosti reported.
City police shut down more than 50 crime groups involving more than 160 people, including 63 Caucasus natives and 40 foreigners, he said.
Last year, Moscow saw a 36.2 percent decrease in the number of murders, a 76 percent decrease in the number of robberies, a 19.8 percent decrease in the number of violent robberies, a 7.9 decrease in the number of car thefts and a 4.4 decrease in the number of violent attacks, Kolokoltsev said.
The number of police officers charged with criminal offenses rose by about 50 percent, while the number of senior police officials disciplined for not following work procedures rose 20 percent, he said.
At the same time, the number of complaints from citizens about illegal actions by police "fell drastically in recent months," Kolokoltsev said, without providing any figures.
Police illegally failed to register 170 appeals from crime victims, but the figure was 18 percent lower than the previous year's, he said.
Kolokoltsev said citizens could complain to him directly on his personal web page at Petrovka-38.org, which opened in December.
A total of 62 attacks on people of "non-Slavic" appearance were registered in the city last year, including 26 murders and 25 cases of intentionally causing severe injuries, five of which ended in deaths, Kolokoltsev said.
Sova Center, a watchdog that tracks hate crimes, said 116 people were injured and 27 killed in racist attacks in Moscow and the Moscow region in the first 11 months of 2009, according to its web site.
City police and the Federal Security Service last year disbanded 10 racist groups with a total of 33 members who carried out 34 of the 62 attacks on people of "non-Slavic" appearance, including 14 murders, Kolokoltsev said.
President Dmitry Medvedev appointed Kolokoltsev as Moscow's police chief in September, filling a position vacated in April when he fired the previous chief in the wake of a supermarket shooting spree by a Moscow police officer that left two people dead. Kolokoltsev, a native of the Penza region, previously served as first deputy head of the Interior Ministry’s criminal police department