Wednesday, January 6, 2016

A New Form of Crime?

At some point on Tuesday (day five after the Koln riot), Germany's Justice Minister Heiko Maas came up to a podium and gave several minutes of commentary about the assaults.  The piece that probably didn't thrill the public is the comment that this riot was demonstrating an entirely new form of organized crime.  For a German, that is discouraging in nature to hear.

Based on people interviewed from the scene and video shot.....I'd say there were a couple of groups at the Koln train station and they weren't connected to each other.  There were African groups, Middle-Eastern groups, and southeastern European groups (maybe one could classify them as Gypsies).  A couple of the groups were purely criminal in nature....snatch-and-go thugs who rob people on a daily basis and saw the large crowd gathering as an opportunity.  Other groups were simply guys who were heavily intoxicated and behaving mostly like they would have in their homeland (not Germany).

A new form of organized crime?  I've sat over the past year and watched more robberies and assaults occur in my local urban area of Wiesbaden.  The snatch-and-go thing is a daily affair.  We even have some thugs who were smart enough to create the fake-cop routine and rob tourists in town every couple of weeks.  A couple weeks prior to Christmas....I watched some non-German kid do a snatch-and-go episode at Karstadt (our major store in town) with a perfume bottle.....getting chased a couple of blocks by security before they lost track of him.

In the mid-80's, I can remember walking around Frankfurt, Hamburg, and Munich and never having any fear or worrying about getting robbed.  That feeling doesn't exist today.

I noticed this morning in local Hessen news.....Frankfurt cops had a big operation concluded last night on Taunus Strasse and the train-station quarter of town.  Two-hundred cops got called in and were part of the operation that took three hours....ending shortly before midnight.

If you've never been to Taunus Strasse.....it is in the middle of the redlight district of Frankfurt.  It was an area with small shops, a dozen-odd food places, and used to be a fairly safe place to walk.  I went by there in the summer of 2014.....looking at heron dealers and a thug-like background that you wouldn't expect in Frankfurt. When you walk down a German street at 9AM and there are dopers laying there from the early-morning high, and no cops around......it sends a message to the public.

The news media and locals had been talking about the neighborhood there at Taunus Strasse for several years....and the cops just always looked the other way.  I suspect....that the city council approved of the behavior in order to keep the drug-thugs out of the train-station itself.  This clean-up?  A reactionary thing where the city council probably said they want a positive image of their situation versus what they have in Koln.....just my humble opinion.

The Justice Minister may be correct in some new form of crime.....but I suspect the only logical answer they will be capable of giving the public is to put more cops on the street, which means hiring another 40,000-odd cops.  If they aren't given the enthusiasm or push to arrest people.....or the local prosecutors aren't willing to press hard....why bother?  

3 comments:

Jess Short said...

On the plus side...sales of pepper spray in Köln is up.

R Hammond said...

I would bet by the end of January that ninety-five percent of Koln women are carrying pepper spray, and even local groceries throughout Germany will start to sell the stuff.

Jess Short said...

I'd guess the end of next week is more plausible. Several stores here have already sold out and a friend of mine at Amazon said orders with them are also up.