Thursday, January 19, 2017

The 'Kid' Story

I sat this morning and was reading a piece on the Hamburg Morganpost (regional newspaper for Hamburg).

Although I'm more attracted to business and political stories....occasionally crime stories will catch my eye.

So, this was the story for a Wednesday morning (0:47AM) crime.   Somewhere near the Reeperbahn subway point in the Altona-Altstadt part of town (west part of town)....some 34-year old German gal was attempting return home.  At some point, she is confronted by a Moroccan juvenile (said to be 16 years old), who attempted to rob her.

The Morganpost points out....that the guy came paperless to Germany in the last couple of months of his ID and age isn't exactly reliable.  Hint: he might be sixteen....he might not be sixteen.

So as this robbery is attempted....she apparently does fight back, and ends up being pushed off the standing area, and onto the tracks.  She bangs her head fairly hard, and is unconscious. Luckily, no trains approaching, and emergency medical folks arrive to transport her off to the hospital.

The 'kid'?  Well, the cops pulled up the video (there's lots of cameras around this subway station), and they have a pretty good picture of the kid. In fact, it took only a few hours for the cops to find the kid and detain him.

What the Morganpost points out (maybe via internal cop comments) is that they have another robbery at the subway station with a woman, and think he's connected to that one as well.

The charges at present?  Theft and dangerous bodily harm.  If this were theft alone, he'd be talking about three or four months in some local jail.  The dangerous bodily harm charge, if convicted....section 226 of the German code suggests between one and ten years....depending on the severity of the victim's injury.

My humble guess is that the cops will lean back toward BaMF, and demand an accounting of his real ID and if he is 16 or not.  The guy probably won't cooperate but they will eventually make some factual determination (maybe by X-ray technology).

Six months down the way....a court will convene and some public defender will do his best but with video and victim comments....the kid will face some new reality in life....prison.  If he's lucky, the victim comes out of the hospital stay with no long-term effect.  If she has permanent effects?  He's going to be in the prison for the full ten years.

Where all this leads onto?  You have a group of people who just wished on a new life somewhere transportation to somewhere else....and then arrived to discover that it costs real money to survive somewhere else.

There is no plan B.

I've sat and looked at dozens of crime-related stories with migrants (they flow across a wide spectrum of countries) in Germany over the past three years.  There are typically two characters.  The first is some professional thug, who is a permanent thief and he was probably a thief before he ever arrived in Germany.  The second is the guy who just left his homeland in search of the better life and had no real plan, and later ends up as a small-time criminal of sorts....either conducting snatch-and-go robberies, shoplifting, drug sales, home-burglary, or their way to survive.

Both characters are problems.  The second guy....the accidental loser with no real just surviving from day to day, and eventually will screw up and be caught by the cops.  The first guy....the semi-professional...might be smart enough to get by for several years before he makes a mistake.

Twenty years ago, Germans didn't worry that much about either thugs or criminals.  You could walk around areas like Hamburg-Altonia (I walked there in 1984) and feel completely safe at 10PM at night.  Today?  You have to look over your shoulder at night in most all German urbanized areas.  In the block or two around the Frankfurt railway station, after dark, it's probably not a safe place to be unless you are in a group.

For this Moroccan kid?  If he'd just done a plain snatch-and-go theft....he'd be looking at short period of time in jail.   He's giving up possibly ten years of his life....for a crime that likely nets him fifty to a hundred Euro.  I just shake my head over this.

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