By red / dpa / lsw
More police, raids on hotspots, video surveillance and the increased use of social workers: After the riot night in Stuttgart, the state brings a security partnership into play. Freiburg is the pioneer. Here violence was contained in this way.
Freiburg – The city has left the inglorious top spot in nationwide crime statistics: after 16 years in a row, Freiburg is no longer the most criminal city in the country. The number of crimes has dropped significantly. The police, the state and the municipality attribute this, among other things, to their shared security partnership. Such a model is also under discussion for the state capital after the rioting night in Stuttgart. Freiburg, which serves as a model for this, draws a positive balance.
“You don’t like to adorn yourself with some titles,” says Freiburg Mayor Martin Horn (independent): “And that’s why I’m pleased that Freiburg is no longer the most criminal city in Baden-Württemberg.” The fourth largest city in the state ran for 16 years crime statistics in the southwest. Now other cities such as Mannheim are in the lead. Horn and Freiburg’s chief of police, Franz Semling, see the reason for the decline in crimes in the city of Freiburg in the security partnership that they have concluded with the state.
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Freiburg is the first city in the southwest with which the state has agreed such a partnership. Heidelberg later followed. After the riots in Stuttgart, Interior Minister Thomas Strobl (CDU) also offered this form of joint crime fighting by the state, local authorities and police to the state capital.
Security partnership has proven itself
Freiburg, Germany’s southernmost metropolis, became uneasy in autumn 2016. The murder of two young women in Freiburg and not far away in Endingen within just three weeks, as well as further acts of violence caused unrest in the city and the region. “People’s sense of security was shaken,” says Horn. The high crime rate and the unsettled population mixed up. The answer from city, state and police was the security partnership. It started in March 2017, was expanded after the group rape of an 18-year-old in Freiburg in autumn 2018 and is still valid today.
“The security partnership has proven to be a suitable means of containing crime and violence in public spaces,” says Horn. It enabled more than 40 additional police officers in Freiburg: “The police can thus be more clearly visible.” The police rider squad and investigative assistants are also deployed. In addition, there is more educational work and more raids on drug and crime focal points. The city undertook to set up a previously missing municipal security service and to expand street social work.
More police alone is not enough
“The increased police presence and more controls lead to a noticeable reduction in violence,” says the police chief. The number of crimes fell by more than 10 percent in 2017 and 2018, and by 9 percent last year. In the old town, which is considered a focal point of crime, the minus is significantly higher. The police are particularly strong here, in the center of the city. “The concept works as long as we stay on the ball,” says Semling. If the police pull out of risk areas, the situation could quickly worsen again. Combating violence is a long-term task.
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“One finding is that more police alone is not enough,” says the mayor. Street social work and crime prevention are also needed to tackle the causes of violence and crime. Freiburg is also working to better illuminate and redesign parks and paths. Dark corners in which crime spreads are supposed to be eliminated permanently. A project that is also under discussion in Stuttgart.
Freiburg plans to reintroduce an alcohol ban
“It takes a bundle of measures,” says Horn. A ban on alcohol in certain areas, for example, is of little use if nothing is additionally done. Freiburg had issued a ban of this kind, as is now being debated in Stuttgart, for a party mile in the city center in 2007 and then legally failed.
“We are currently not planning to reintroduce a ban on alcohol in the city center,” said Freiburg Mayor Stefan Breiter (CDU). The security partnership, which also includes video surveillance in the city center, has proven to be a better means.
Security concepts cannot simply be transferred to other cities, emphasizes the Interior Minister. Every city and every region needs tailored solutions. The example of Freiburg shows that together more security can be permanently achieved.