Berlin/Cologne Train stations are a gateway to faraway places, starting points for business or vacation trips. But they are also attractive to pickpockets – and acts of violence are not uncommon at major hubs.
The main train stations in Cologne, Essen and Düsseldorf had the highest number of recorded drug-related offenses in Germany in the past six months. This is according to information provided by the Federal Ministry of the Interior to the AfD parliamentary group and obtained by the Deutsche Presse-Agentur. According to the report, between July and December 2020, authorities recorded 272 offenses involving narcotics at Cologne Central Station, followed by 235 cases at Essen Central Station and 206 cases at Düsseldorf Central Station.
In terms of violations of the Weapons Act, Cologne Central Station also tops the list nationwide with 15 offenses, followed by Essen Central Station with 14 offenses.
In the case of property crimes such as theft, Frankfurt Central Station leads the negative statistics with 744 incidents, followed by Hamburg (572 offenses) and Cologne (504 offenses).
In the case of violent crimes, Hamburg's main station came out on top in the past six months. Authorities recorded a total of 300 cases there between July and December 2020, with Frankfurt's main station with 238 and Nuremberg's main station with 189 violent offenses trailing behind.
When asked about commonalities between the aforementioned stations and reasons for their appearance in the statistics, the ministry writes that they are "large stations in urban centres with connections also to rail networks in neighbouring countries." Large train stations in urban centres have a "pull effect on criminals," which is mainly due to their constant operation, their "hustle and bustle," possibilities for supply and disposal, and for arrival and departure. Central bus stations, welfare centres and drug consumption rooms were located nearby.
A comparatively high proportion of suspects are not of German nationality: more than 40 percent of violent offenders, around a third of drug offenders and more than half of property offenders. In the statistics on violent crimes, Poles, Syrians, Turks and Afghans appear comparatively frequently as suspects.
In the second half of last year, a total of 198 federal police officers were injured in the line of duty during violent confrontations at train stations or in trains, 35 of whom were initially unfit for duty. The federal police are in charge of security at train stations.
"Violence at German train stations affects not only metropolitan areas, but virtually every major train station," said AfD member of parliament Martin Hess. "The federal and state governments, cities and municipalities must work together to stop the neglect of our train stations and station districts - with a consistent zero-tolerance strategy and prudent urban planning," he demanded. "It must not be the case that citizens can only get to work or travel with justified fear."
Original text: (dpa)
Translation: Mareike Graepel