“Pray for my husband,” were the desperate words of the wife of 52-year-old businessman Alexandros Stamatiadis to journalists gathered outside Athens’ Georgios Gennimatas Hospital last night, even as her husband was struggling for his life in the intensive care unit inside.

Stamatiadis was shot twice in the back in his Kifisia home by two burglars, as he attempted to struggle with them in order to protect his family.

In another recent burglary that turned out quite differently, an 88-year-old retired Coast Guard officer shot and lightly injured one of the two intruders that had broken into his home, one Greek and the other ethnic Albanian.

Alternate Civil Protection Minister Nikos Toskas’ comments on each of the cases caused a political maelstrom, as he denounced the octogenarian’s vigilantism and chalked up the attack against the businessman the fact that, “We do not live in an angelic world.”

Toskas yesterday said that the number of robberies in 2017 was lower than in 2016. Specifically, there were 453 fewer robberies in 2017.

The data released last Monday were revealing. There were 4,271 robberies, the vast majority (3,418) in Attica, and 75,707 thefts and break-ins.

There were 708 criminal break-ins at residences (59 a month on average).

As regards street crime, there were 1,871 incidents of theft -including pocketbooks, cell phones, and small amounts of cash.

“There was always a crime problem, but now it has gotten out of hand. The most recent crime incidents, with people fighting for their lives and homes being pillaged, confirm what New Democracy was saying all along. The situation is getting worse every day,” said main opposition leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis.

Mitsotakis cited Syriza’s abolition of the Delta police motorcyclists’ rapid reaction unit, a law to decongest prisons passed by Syriza’s former justice minister Nikos Paraskevopoulos (which he says put violent criminals on the streets), and the reduction of neighbourhood police patrols.