In response to increasing drug-related crime in Frankfurt’s train station district, business people have hired a private security service. The city doesn’t think much of it – but will show more presence for its part.
Since the beginning of the corona pandemic, there have been increasing reports of an alcoholic condition in Frankfurt’s Bahnhofsviertel: drug deals on the street, drug addicts camping out on the sidewalks, where rubbish and human excrement are often lying around. All of this increases the feeling of insecurity among passers-by and residents.
Business people complain that the city administration is just watching the brutalization in the streets east of the main station. Shop and hotel operators in Niddastrasse have therefore had employees from a private security company patrolling for a few weeks. They continue to want to see an improvement in the situation.
Security guards only have everyman’s rights
The private security guards hardly have a greater hand than the right of public access: If they observe a possible crime, they can die or hold the suspect until the police arrive. She can only evict unpopular people from shop areas and sections of the sidewalk where the domiciliary rights of her clients apply. They have no right of access on the street.
This is one of the reasons why the head of the regulatory department, Annette Rinn (FDP), sees no great benefit in the business people’s initiative. Especially since the security company initially lacked the necessary approval and its employees illegally patrolled with telescopic batons. Both have now been clarified, Rinn told HR.
“From my point of view, there are enough police in the station district, but if some business people want to add security, they can do that,” Rinn said. The reports from the shopkeepers that they now feel more comfortable when they go out on the street have obviously also given the city councilor pause. In any case, they will increasingly have urban law enforcement officers on duty in the station district, as she announced in an interview with hr.
Crime will increase in 2022
The criticism of their work, which goes hand in hand with the commitment of private security guards, does not completely roll off the police either. “Of course, that’s an alarm signal for us if local residents think it’s necessary,” said a spokesman for the police headquarters. However, one considers it possible that the appearance of the security service could lead to new conflicts, for example if addicts or dealers clashed with their employees – and ultimately the police would have to intervene.
The total number of offenses in the current year will in all likelihood rise sharply, a spokesman told hr on Friday. This is already becoming apparent, even if the official crime statistics are not yet available.
In recent years, however, there has been no clear trend. For shoplifting, theft from bars, muggings and assault, the numbers fell by a quarter in some cases. On the other hand, there were significantly more car break-ins and three times as many thefts from basement rooms and cases of illegal prostitution. In drug trafficking, the police registered 552 cases in 2018, and 389 offenses a year later. In 2020 there were still 250 cases, in 2021 293.
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