Up until the last decade in Germany.....no one ever used the expression 'No-Go' area. I can remember arriving in Frankfurt in 1978, and getting the basic introduction to Germany. Most of what you got on insider information were 'Must-Go' areas....you need to go and see this, or you need to visit this pub in Sachsenhausen. In those days, you could have wandered around the Frankfurt train station and marveled at all of the architecture and then walked the whole depth of the city....it was all safe. Things changed over the past twenty years.
So I pulled up Focus today and was reading through an article on the trendy topic of 'No-Go' areas.
North Rhine-Westphalia is having a big long discussion within the political arena and the public. A growing segment of the local population believe that 'No-Go' areas exist in NRW, and they will draw the red circles on the districts or cities involved. The politicians say otherwise....mostly trying to hype safety and security. The problem is.....the public isn't buying it.
This triggers an awkward cascade of problems now. The Minister of the Interior for NRW....is an SPD Party guy. He's the front guy and having to continually tell woeful story in a positive way. Every single day....he's hit by a turn of events, or some comment that he has to make to the press from the region. He has taken to some agreement that violent mobster clans do exist in NRW and the cops are not achieving any success.
On any given day....some gun battle might erupt between clan X and clan Y over some drug deal gone wrong or someone treated with no respect. The German cops quietly come to clean up the mess, ask for witnesses, and write a final report with no clear conclusion. If they did do a through investigation....it'd lead onto someone and a court episode, but that would mean you would have to put people on the street and into dangerous situations. So they just let the clans continue on, with no hindrance.
The expression used by the Minister of the Interior....instead of 'No-Go' areas? He's neatly invented 'Fear Spaces'.
This is where you the cop have arrived in some neighborhood with issues, and you notice a dark corner or a poorly lit street, or some less-than-desirable houses, so you avoid that corner, that street, or that section of houses.
Note, he didn't suggest that thugs or foreign gangs run that area. That part was left out of public comments.
Why any of this matters? There's a lot of frustration in NRW right now, and the state election is barely 120 days away. There's frustration about a lack of jobs....significant refugee population growth in the state....broken promises from the SPD Party over the past twenty years....and a fear over terrorism, crime, and 'No-Go' areas. So this discussion that 'Fear Spaces' exist but 'No-Go' areas don't exist....well...it's worth two or three beers but it really doesn't entertain or satisfy anyone.