Bonn Bonn police say knife attacks are becoming increasingly frequent, especially in the case of street crime. They are now being specifically trained for these situations..
A 25-year-old man caused alarm a few days ago in Bonn when he handled a knife in a tram and made threats. The police were able to detain him a short time later. On Friday evening, there was a bloody conflict between three men on Oppelner Straße in Tannenbusch involving a sharp-edged window scraper.
Both cases should be reflected in the next police crime statistics. Since January, there has been a special category for the use of knives and other stabbing instruments. Up to now, this has only been the case for firearms.
According to Bonn police, the first data will not be available until July. Wolfgang Beus, spokesperson for the NRW Ministry of the Interior, explains the methodology: “It is not only the use of a knife in an attack that will be recorded, but whether one is carried during a crime. Both will be recorded separately in the statistics.”
According to Beus, even if there is a general feeling that the number of knife attacks is increasing, there is currently no valid database for this. In addition, it will of course not be possible to compare the first data with that from previous years.
Will there soon be “Knife-free zones”?
In the meantime, there is the general impression among a wide variety of parties of an increasing number of cases. The two major police unions, for example, have been warning for some time of increasing knife attacks by young men and youths.
Several state governments are calling for laws allowing certain neighbourhoods and events to be designated “knife-free zones” – although the black-yellow coalition in NRW has so far been cautious and Bonn police have refrained from commenting.
The SPD parliamentary group in the Düsseldorf state parliament took the trouble to have police press releases evaluated using the search term “knife”, as a sort of replacement for missing statistical. This showed that in Bonn in the six months between September 2017 and March 2018 alone there were a total of 33 knife attacks – just as many as in much larger cities such as Cologne, Dortmund, Essen or Düsseldorf.
“According to my colleagues, it is particularly suspects who are involved in street crime – so assault crimes, robbery or drugs-related crimes – who are increasingly carrying knives with them and also using them if necessary,” says Frank Pointek from the Bonn police press office, indirectly confirming the trend.
Knife attacks are difficult to ward off
The fact that there are more knives in public street spaces is also supported by the safety authorities’ internal handling of the topic. Such scenarios have apparently been practised for more often in recent times.
“It is an increasingly important part of internal training,” says Piontek. Even during supposedly simple operations or controls, a knife could suddenly come into play. Officers are being trained accordingly and equipped with stab resistant vests.
Original text: Rüdiger Franz. Translation: kc