It’s no coincidence. Until Friday it is the week of ‘Amsterdam Disarms’. At nine police stations in the city, owners are allowed to hand in their knives, machetes, daggers, brass knuckles, tear gas and electroshock weapons without penalty. When it comes to weaponry such as pistols and revolvers, people should call 0900-8844. A cop in plain clothes and with a nondescript car picks them up. These weapons are thoroughly examined for future traces of a crime and must provide identification.
Eric Bons about the catch up to and including Tuesday afternoon (only a day and a half): “Up to now we have mainly received knives here in the Bijlmer – and now an air rifle that is not illegal for adults either – but at other desks there are already several retrieved firearms. So it can be called successful.”
The action was not started from the idea that heavier weapons will even surrender their weaponry. The police have mainly pinned their hopes on young people, who hopefully can still be pushed in the right direction.
Boys aged 13
After all this time, Eric Bons, who has been a youth coordinator for over ten years, also feels it is a personal mission: “We try to make a difference. Surprise young people to turn their backs on crime. Although the police are known for enforcing the law, in our view this can go well with care. We can try to try to bring youth into contact with the police in a non-negative way and prevent them from making choices about where to go later. Amsterdam Disarms is also such an action: ‘hand in your weapon, because carrying weapons simply leads to using weapons faster’.”
As a youth coordinator, Bons often visits schools, at young people’s homes, in community centers; so he has a good idea of what’s going on. “We see that the youth who carry guns is younger. That is worrying. 13 year old boys will be busy with other things. But often through social media, YouTube, where young people can find everything, friends who decide to do this and really come to say a knife.”
One happiness: the younger, the better it is to offer help. Bons: “We call that early detection. If we are there in time, we can often change this group.”
Bons can not say in all information about this group that has also handed in weapons. Optimistic: “But every weapon that is delivered is one. If a mother of grandmother hands in a knife, then that is already a profit. It will probably be about it at home anyway and some kind of his environment will get the right signal: don’t go out on the street with a weapon.”