Almost 250 criminal charges Rape and mass brawl in Cologne

Cologne · The Cologne police give the first numbers after New Year's Eve: Almost 250 criminal charges were recorded. A tourist was raped in a toilet. Physical injury, damage to property and harassment were also reported.

The police had thoroughly prepared for New Year's Eve in Cologne: According to their own statements, about 1100 policemen were on duty in addition to security guards to ensure the safety of the party-goers in Cologne and Leverkusen. Approximately 300 officers of the federal police were deployed for this purpose. On New Year's morning, Mayor Henriette Reker said: "The concept developed by the City of Cologne and police authorities has been effective again.“

Between 6pm on New Year's Eve and 10am on New Year's Day, the police in Cologne and Leverkusen recorded 249 criminal charges. In the previous year there were 214, including 86 cases of bodily injury and seven offences with a sexual background.A 28-year-old tourist from southern Germany was raped by a stranger in the toilets of a restaurant in Cologne's Old Town. The woman had met him that night while using drugs. In addition, there were six other cases of sexual harassment according to the current state of investigations. The suspects were found in five of these cases.

These figures are not conclusive, the police spokesperson emphasizes: "The crime figures presented in this balance sheet may still change. The listings are subject to the proviso that further reports may be received by the Cologne police or that offences maybe classified differently in the course of investigations," the statement states.
During the night, officers of the special task force issued 86 reprimands against aggressive and frequently drunken troublemakers and took eleven unheeding men into custody. In the special operation, three policemen were slightly injured by acts of resistance.

Police officers from Cologne and Leverkusen brought a total of 44 men and one woman into police custody by 9am on New Year's morning, mostly for resistance.

Mass brawl in Meschenich

With the help of two police dogs, the police were able to end a brawl in Cologne-Meschenich. The guests of two private New Year's Eve celebrations had clashed and fought each other on the street. The officers used pepper spray and called for reinforcements after they themselves had been attacked by individuals in the attempt to separate the conflicting parties. The police took three young men into custody and began investigations into dangerous assault and resistance. Firefighters drove a participant in the brawl to a hospital. In Cologne-Mülheim, four young men were caught when they kicked off some car mirrors.

Graffiti sprayer causes damage of 320,000 Euro

According to the Federal Police, the journey to and from Cologne for the New Year's Eve celebrations was generally quiet. The federal police counted only 14 criminal charges until morning: Five assaults, five thefts, one insult, one resistance against enforcement officers and one violation of the Residence Act. A graffiti sprayer was reported for damage to property. According to estimates by the Federal Police, he caused considerable material damage amounting to 320,000 Euro. For Cologne Central Station, 26 expulsion orders were issued and four persons were taken into custody.

Hundreds of rescue operations

The fire brigade and rescue services in Cologne were also prepared for a turbulent night at the turn of the year. 477 firefighters and relief organisations were immediately ready for action. They had to deploy 247 times – less frequently than last year.The ambulance service deployed 575 times – ten percent less than in 2018. The ambulance service had set up mobile accident assistance centres in the old town in addition to the permanent ones. A total of 40 patients were treated there. In the rescue and medical service, the Cologne fire brigade was supported by the Cologne aid organisations (DRK, MHD, ASB and Johanniter) and the Falck company.

An alleged fireworks display had already triggered a fright on New Year's Eve morning in Mülheim. At first a woman had thought a bang in her living room was an early New Year's Eve firecracker. When it banged again, she noticed that a battery in a laptop had exploded on her wall cupboard. She alerted the fire department, who disconnected the laptop from the power supply and extinguished the burning closet with a glass of water.

The volunteer fire brigade and the professional fire brigade deployed a total of 153 missions on New Year's Eve. Among them was an apartment fire shortly after midnight in Cologne-Meschenich where a cat died. While the extinguishing work was still going on, the passers-by on the street had a violent confrontation with four injured, two of whom were taken to a hospital by ambulance. In Cologne-Weiden, the fire brigade rescued twelve people from a smoke filled building.

An ambulance crew was assaulted on New Year's Eve. The rescue workers were not injured.

(Original text: GA Bonn, Translation: Mareike Graepel)

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