Disturbance of the peace and crime on the rise: Residents complaints about situation on the Rhine bank

Disturbance of the peace and crime on the rise : Residents complaints about situation on the Rhine bank

Has a new crime hotspot emerged on the banks of the Rhine in Bonn? Residents are raising the alarm and complaining about disturbances of the peace and more crime between the Beethovenhalle and the Old Customs House (Alter Zoll).

Over the past six years, the number of people who hang around there in the evening and at night, sometimes until 5 a.m., has risen sharply, observed resident Jürgen Tiedtke.

"In large groups of up to 20 people, almost always equipped with Bluetooth loudspeakers, lots of alcohol and drugs, which are also diligently traded, people are shouting, screaming and playing music extremely loudly," Tiedtke told the General-Anzeiger. Green spaces, trees and bushes, even in the living areas, are used as toilets. Even repeated complaints to the police and public order office has not changed much.

Local resident Michael Göllner is also observing the development. On the first weekend of Advent, the flower beds in front of the Beethovenhalle were again destroyed and littered during the night, he reports: "Unfortunately, this forecourt is always a romping place for drunken and stoned youths at the weekend". Neither the public order office nor the police could cope with the situation.

At the request of the GA, press spokesman Frank Piontek reports that the authorities were unable to statistically determine how often the police were called in by residents this year. Also the municipal public order office does not keep a record of this. However, the city's public order service "has received weekly complaints about noise pollution and nightly disturbances of peace, especially in good weather during the summer months," confirms Markus Schmitz from the city's press office.

A cursory glance at press releases of recent months confirms the subjective impression. On the second weekend of Advent, two men without residence in Germany had attacked a 23-year-old at the driveway to Kennedy Bridge and kicked him in order to rob him. The magistrate later sent both of them to pre-trial custody. In September, a 19-year-old man was attacked and injured by four people on Brassertufer. In July, a 17-year-old habitual offender with two accomplices attacked two young women. In June, three men demanded alcohol from two other visitors. When they refused, the perpetrators immediately attacked and put their victims in hospital. In February, a brawl between four young men who were friends had broken out on the Fritz-Schröder-Ufer after drinking alcohol and taking drugs.

"The main reasons for the police to intervene are quarrels and bodily injuries among those celebrating, but also disturbances of the peace caused by groups of people who meet mainly on the banks of the Rhine," explained Piontek. The mostly young men themselves sometimes behaved aggressively and disrespectfully towards the police officers. Several people had been sent off or taken into custody after ignoring police warnings.

"But there were also several arrests after robberies on the banks of the Rhine," says Piontek, "in three cases suspects were either arrested on the spot or investigated shortly afterwards. Arrest warrants were issued for three suspects." However, there are no signs of an established drug scene. However, the Hofgarten, which is popular with drug dealers and consumers, is located in the immediate vicinity. Already in the summer, the residents of the new Rheinlogen complex on Brassertufer, which was built in 2012, sought to talk to the police and the public order office. In July there was a joint local meeting, confirms Piontek. Since then, the police have increasingly relied on identity checks and foot patrols in civilian clothes and will continue to do so in spring.

"However, the situation has hardly improved since then", says Ralf Koschwitz, spokesman for the owners' association with about 70 parties. Constant noise, especially in the late evening and night hours, vandalism and open drug consumption, sexual intercourse or toilet visits within the inner courtyard of the complex or on the associated playground are the order of the day, he said.

The complainants now see the city above all as having a duty of care. In the initiated redevelopment of the bank area between Kennedy Bridge and KD jetty, security concerns should be taken into account. Tiedtke, for example, wants better lighting and larger rubbish bins, as well as camera surveillance and a ban on alcohol on the banks of the Rhine.

The residents intend to file a citizens' petition for this in the near future. After the deadly attack on Niklas Pöhler in Bad Godesberg's city park, more intensive lighting had indeed significantly defused the focus of crime there.

Representatives of the city administration and the police planned another joint local meeting soon, the press office of the city of Bonn announced. The intention was to explore short-term construction measures to ease the situation.

Original text: Martin Wein
Translation: Mareike Graepel