Residents from the station district have hired a security service. They don’t want to wait any longer for the city of Frankfurt to take action.
Frankfurt – “Psssst, do you need anything?” whispers a man to passers-by, who hold their bags tighter and quickly continue through the arcades. In a corner of Niddastrasse behind the narrow passageway to Düsseldorfer Strasse, drugs and money pass from hand to hand early in the morning. Outspoken and unimpressed by other people rushing from hotels to the train. Up until the moment when two men in dark clothing walk down the street from Karlsplatz without a word and approach them. Merchants and customers have also disappeared as quickly as they appeared. Start of duty for security men Aziz Abedalazis (43) and Mustafa Ali (31).
“When we were here for the first time two weeks ago, it was different. Dealers everywhere, homeless people who have slept here on the doorstep, dirt, urine, feces, people screaming and music as loud as in a disco”, say the well-trained men and smile when business people wave at them as they go into their offices. “It’s finally quiet here, it’s clean and unrecognizable,” says Ralph Hofmann, who has had a fur company here for 26 years.
Frankfurt: According to citizens, the station district is getting worse
“I was here five years ago. Now the neighborhood is even worse,” says Alessandro Hörmann, who has lived in Berlin, New York, Uganda and Shanghai. He works for the Bundesbank and lives in a hotel in the area. “In the area, you hardly dare to go out on the street in a suit. I have never experienced anything else that makes me feel so uncomfortable. I’m now going through the street here because there’s someone here who’s watching,” he says, praising the men from Alybaba. Their boss, Karim Aly, has convinced the property manager on Niddastrasse that making the street safer can work. “With presence, well-trained security staff, communication and a bit of authority. Without any fisticuffs,” says Aly. At first he was met with skepticism, but the difference to before is already enormous.
Huy Pham works on reception at the 25hours Hotel and is “glad there is someone keeping an eye on the road. It’s great that a sign is being set, we’ve always had people here who were hard to get out. If the guys would be present at night as well, it would be perfect.”
Security service in Frankfurt’s Bahnhofsviertel: “Most listen to us”
Abedalazis and Ali see immediately when shady characters approach. One look is enough now, and the darklings move on. “In the beginning we had to talk a lot. In many languages. They left, but came back shortly afterwards. No one probably expected that we would always be there and send people on again and again,” said Jordanian Abedalazis, who is a fitness trainer and has various black belts, with a smile. Friendly but firm, he stops a heavily intoxicated man from sitting in a doorway. He stands in the entrance and says calmly, “Go on, please”. He goes.
Ali, who wrote as a German teacher in Ethiopia and is also very athletically built, only waves his hand when a dealer wants to go from Düsseldorfer Strasse to Niddastrasse. He turns away immediately. “We speak to everyone respectfully and in their own language,” says Abedalazis. “Most listen to us. However, if someone is selling or using drugs in our area and doesn’t want to leave, we call the police. Fortunately, this is rarely necessary.”
In the evening it starts all over again in Frankfurt’s Bahnhofsviertel
Tinsae Ghebreselasie, who has run the Beauty Zone in the arcade for 25 years, grins. “That’s how it works,” he says and says that there have been security guards before. “They had no idea what was going on here and how to deal with people. The two radiate presence, a message and a position. They have a background and know how to get a message across. Just by being there in two weeks you can achieve more than the city of Frankfurt in years. As long as security is there, there is no longer a deal here.”
The lady from the kiosk next door angrily points to her windows and doors, which are cracked by stones thrown. “It happens at night when we’re not there. We keep asking for cameras up to the mayor. There is no answer. The police say it’s not allowed.” After the office closes, Abedalazis and Ali go home. The scene comes back. “Psssst, do you need anything?”, it scolds. Until the next morning, when the two men in uniform are walking down the street again. (Sabine Schramek)