Bonn A federal association based near the railway station has written an urgent letter to the Lord Mayor and the police commissioner. In it the senders complain about the excesses of the alcohol and drug scene.
When a federal association speaks out, it sounds to many ears like solid and influential lobbying. What has now reached the public from the headquarters of the Association of Student Residences (VfSt), however, has more the character of a cry for help. The reason for the letter from the rooms in Thomas-Mann-Strasse is the ongoing problems caused by the alcohol and drug scene there, addressed to the Lord Mayors and the Police Commissioner. They, as VfS managing director Christian Neumann puts it with his "urgent request", are finally supposed to help.
What Neumann describes in his incendiary letter sounds like the backdrop to a dark crime thriller: "Every day our staff and I experience at first hand the open drug dealer and consumer scene here in our offices. Drugs are traded openly and circulated freely and unhindered in broad daylight. But that's not enough," Neumann writes and continues with illustrious descriptions of faeces, the literal reproduction of which exceeds the limits of what is reasonable in a newspaper. The report continues: with used syringes and cannulas that would be thrown over the wall into the garden, just as empty or broken beer bottles would be found around the office building. According to Neumann, he does not even want to talk about the numerous noise and odour nuisances caused by people who are sometimes drunk, "because unfortunately an habituation effect has almost set in".
"Police and public order office tolerate untenable conditions"
The police is only seen, according to Neumann, when they are securing evidence on the property or searching for it. The 44-year-old wants to change this with his open letter, in which he claims to speak on behalf of the "silent, but often simply frustrated neighbourhood". He calls the fact that the police and public order office tolerate an "untenable state of affairs". He hopes that the public order authorities will take a similarly consistent view of the problems described, as they already do with parking offenders.
Should Christian Neumann have expected something like an admission of guilt from the city and the police, he is likely to be disappointed. Yes, the area has been known as a meeting place for alcoholics and addicts since the scene was moved out of the Bonner Loch, the city and police say in unison on request. However, the authorities counter the implicit accusation of inactivity by pointing out that they are usually present there with foot patrols from the Gabi police station.
Police reject the accusations
"Colleagues are on duty in the area of Bonn's city centre all day long with the staff of the city planning service and, among other things, monitor the behaviour of the members of the scene very closely during their joint patrols," says Simon Rott from the press office of the police. And this will remain so in the future. In the Noeggerath and Rabinstraße area, no accumulation of police operations in comparison to the rest of the inner city area is discernible. There is also no conspicuous focus on the operational events, says Rott.
Administrative offences such as aggressive begging, illegal waste disposal or wild urination are consistently punished, a spokeswoman for the city administration said when asked. The situation is "a problem for society as a whole, which the police, the Stadtwerke Bonn and the City of Bonn cannot solve on their own". The broad-based work - in the form of the city's "outreach work" together with the independent organisations - has proved its worth and will be continued. The social associations active in the area surrounding the station were not available for comment on Thursday.
Original text: Rüdiger Franz. Translation: Mareike Graepel