It is safe to live in and visit Lithuania, a deputy chief police commissioner has assured, responding to a Fox News story ranking the country's three cities as “deadliest” in Europe.
“I can state that it's safe in absolutely all the territory of Lithuania. [...] Many can be envious of the level of security Lithuanians enjoy, especially that website [Fox News],” Edvardas Šileris told journalists on Thursday.
His comments came in response to an article published on the website of the US TV channel Fox News, stating that Lithuania's three major cities are leading in Europe in terms of homicide rates.
“We don’t believe it's true. The key thing is that every country calculates [homicide rates] differently and some calculate murders, others calculate murders committed with a gun, or people killed in car accidents,” Šileris said.
He also said murder rates were on the decline, with only 97 cases reported in the whole of the country last year. “It's the lowest number since 1980. We have never seen such a low number,” the police representative said.
In his words, most of the homicides resulted from domestic conflicts, many induced by alcohol, and did not occur in public places. “City residents and city guests should feel fairly safe,” Šileris said.
Lithuania still leads among European Union countries in terms of homicide rates, data from 2017 shows. Asked what the country should do to improve the situation, Šileris said: “We should drink less.”
Nine murders were committed in Vilnius in 2018, 13 in Kaunas and seven in Klaipėda, according to the deputy chief of the police.
Last year, 18 murders were reported in Vilnius, 13 in Kaunas and six in Klaipėda, two of them unresolved.
The branding group at the Lithuanian government also said that the Fox News story was “selective”, “not objective” and did not “reflect the reality”.