.. The village is charming and quiet within walking distance from Neapoli.
Roma/Gypsies are known in the whole of Greece for their petty crime. And in Voulismeni a most unfortunate robbery recently happened there. It is a sign of the times.
In another nearby village, Vrahassi, also close to Neapoli there have been several incidents of walk in, opportunistic thieves lifting wallets and other small valuable items easily hidden. Vrahassi villagers too believe it is work of the Gyspies or illegal immigrants. This is happening not only in Eastern Crete but all over.
One tactic has been a salesman walking the streets one by one selling pillows. It is suspected that when a door is left open (as has been tradition in our villages)a thief nips in and out very fast, hoping not to be spotted.
Back to the Voulismeni incident which is rather more serious.
As reported to INCO members, as an advisory to be on the alert when at home, an old Cretan man was targeted by tricksters and thiefs – the villagers say that they were gipsies. The man is 95 years old, and is a little senile.
The modus operandi was this. A couple of people came to his house saying that they were from the Church and asking for money for it.
As the old villager got out his wallet they snatched all the cash in it, basically his pension money, and ran off.
A group of them came back later at another time.. at about 3.00pm and went into his house demanding money again. He said he had nothing so they threw him to the floor.
A villager heard him shouting for help and a number of villagers rushed to the scene.
The thieves got away in a car but luckily someone got the registration of the vehicle.
The 95 year old was shook up but not seriously harmed.
One expat said: "Voulismeni is a small village set back from the main roads and so we rarely get strangers here – only when they get lost! I think there have been other incidents and now villagers tell me that they keep doors locked and are more vigilant."
We never locked doors of the houses before. This is also a reflection on the economic situation of Greece and the uneven distribution of wealth, and throw into the mix, discrimination by mainstream society of the Roma/Gysies.
By the way, if ever driving the main highway in Heraklion proper, you’ll notice adjacent to the huge regional police headquarters the permanent biggest squatter encampment of Gypsies in Crete. Unbelievable fact, but true.