Crime in Bonn How dangerous is Bertha-von-Suttner-Platz?

Bonn · After a knife attack on Bertha-von-Suttner-Platz on Wednesday, in which an 18-year-old was injured, the police are looking for the perpetrators. Why there is still no video surveillance by the authorities in the area and how often crimes are committed there.

Police are repeatedly deployed in the area around Bertha-von-Suttner-Platz for various reasons.

Police are repeatedly deployed in the area around Bertha-von-Suttner-Platz for various reasons.

Foto: Petra Reuter

Time and again, Bertha-von-Suttner-Platz in Bonn's city center appears in police reports. This often involves traffic accidents or demonstrations, which usually pass by the square, but also assaults - sometimes with serious consequences for the victims. The most recent case is a knife attack on Wednesday evening. As things stand, an 18-year-old was stabbed several times in the leg and had to be taken to hospital. The police speak of Bertha-von-Suttner-Platz as a "busy" location.

However, the authorities are still refraining from using police video surveillance there - although this is formally possible - as they do on Poppelsdorfer Allee or Poststraße, for example. This use is made possible by the NRW Police Act: the law permits the use of video surveillance to prevent crimes "if repeated crimes have been committed there and the nature of the location is conducive to the commission of crimes". However, the video towers are not permitted everywhere, but only at crime hotspots or at events such as Rhine in Flames, Pützchens Markt or the Christmas market.

Police operations at Bertha-von-Suttner-Platz

The police operations at Bertha-von-Suttner-Platz, according to authority spokesman Simon Rott, are mainly due to the location of the square as a traffic junction, but also to the many snack bars, bars and pubs and the associated nightlife. Although the area is conspicuous from a criminalistic point of view, it is not necessarily comparable to the area around Bonn's main station and bus station or Hofgarten, where the police video towers are used time and again. Rott: "We observe and analyze crime closely. If necessary, video surveillance can and is also deployed at short notice at identified hotspots.“

In the most recent case at Bertha-von-Suttner-Platz, the 18-year-old was with two men of the same age at the stairs leading down from Am Marthashof street to Bertha-von-Suttner-Platz at around 8.30 p.m. on Wednesday, according to the police. Suddenly, six to eight men came from the direction of Langgasse and attacked the 18-year-old with batons. One of the unidentified men injured the young man's leg with a knife. The unidentified men then ran off in the direction of Sandkaule. The description of the alleged perpetrators was relatively thin: They were dressed in black, the assailants merely testified. According to Rott, it cannot be ruled out that the robbers and the members of the group of men knew each other. The background to the attack is also unclear. Investigations are still ongoing.

Decrease in dangerous and grievous bodily harm

As reported, the Bertha-von-Suttner-Platz area, which the authorities also include parts of Marthashof, Berliner Freiheit, Kölnstraße, Sandkaule and Belderberg as well as Wenzelgasse, Brüdergasse and Oxfordstraße, has been one of the areas in Bonn with a high number of crimes for years. A look back shows that the police also recorded one attempted homicide in both 2018 and 2019. For example, a female driver attempted to run over a 19-year-old following a dispute between two groups. The man was seriously injured and taken to hospital. In November 2019, according to police reports at the time, three people aged between 16 and 20 were seriously injured after an argument between two small groups - the 20-year-old was even critically injured.

According to the police, 211 crimes were recorded there in the first year of the pandemic in 2020. In 2021, the figure was slightly lower at 177 crimes. In 2022, there were 248 crimes again, compared to 241 in the previous year. According to Rott, the police recorded an increase compared to 2020/21 in theft offences (2020: 82; 2021: 77; 2022: 121; 2023: 119) and deliberate minor bodily harm (2020: 27; 2023: 37). The trend for dangerous and grievous bodily harm was different: while the number was 14 cases in 2022, the police recorded five fewer cases in 2023.

(Original text: Lisa Inhoffen; Translation: Mareike Graepel)