Bad Godesberg After two teenagers were mugged at the Bad Godesberg train station, the police are evaluating the surveillance camera footage. The father of one of the victims renews his criticism of police and receives support from state parliament member Christos Katzidis.
Things could soon get uncomfortable for the youths who attacked two of their peers in front of the Bad Godesberg train station on Saturday. Because the images from the surveillance camera at the underground station show the alleged perpetrators very clearly. The father of one of the victims had filed charges in connection with the incident. He told GA about the video in response to a GA query, saying he only succeeded in a second attempt in interacting with the police, because the police officer at the Godesberg station at first wanted to work through four pickpocketing cases (before dealing with the allegations from the youths).
“An arrest would have taken place had the officer been responsive," the Bad Godesberg father says, more convinced than ever after a questioning at the police headquarters in Ramersdorf. His son recognized the perpetrators on the video, which made it clear that the gang had been in the vicinity of the train platform for a relatively long period of time.
On Monday, the police press office announced that the video would be reviewed, and this has since taken place. “At the time the first contact was made with the Bad Godesberg police station and charges were filed, several people were hanging out (at the place where the assault occurred).” The officer didn’t prioritize the incident properly, and indicated that there would be a longer waiting time until the case could be dealt with.
"After a more detailed initial questioning, police search measures should have been initiated even before or during the filing of charges," Rott said. This had been noted for future cases that are similar. The father is annoyed by this account: "We clearly articulated ourselves and received the response that 30 minutes after the crime, one could not expect success anyway." Christos Katzidis of the CDU parliamentary group in the state parliament, commented in a press release on the investigations concerning the case.
The number of legitimate complaints against the police officers in NRW is very small, so they largely do an "excellent, citizen-oriented and professional job under difficult conditions," writes the Bonn resident, who was once a police officer. "Less encouraging, however, are the allegations in connection with a report filed at the Bad Godesberg police station. Something like this must not be repeated," Katzidis says clearly.
Four muggings involving teenagers since the beginning of October
The secondary school student involved told his father that the tactic of luring young people into an out-of-sight corner and then confiscating their valuables at knifepoint was not uncommon in Bad Godesberg. The Bonn police do not share this assessment. "Currently, there are isolated offenses of predatory extortion and robbery by juveniles in the Bad Godesberg area (four offenses since 01.10.2021), which right now, however, cannot be attributed to a specific group of offenders," police spokesman Rott says. With the charges filed so far, nothing stands out.
There are also no indications that young gangs prefer to use the underground tram line between Hofgarten and Bad Godesberg station to carry out the muggings. This is confirmed by Stadtwerke Bonn: "Our colleagues in the transport services and the control center have not had any indications of incidents of this kind so far," says press spokeswoman Stefanie Zießnitz.
At the schools, nothing indicates it is a topic of concern
At the schools interviewed by the GA, the topic is not of big concern at this time. "No reports of assaults have been received here yet," says Jan Rosenmüller, school social worker at the Gertrud-Bäumer-Realschule. He says they have a very good rapport with the students, some of whom come forward with serious matters. "That's why they would confide in us," Rosenmüller is convinced. Birgit Heinen, principal of the Clara-Fey-Gymnasium, says that assaults are "not an issue" at her school. The same is said at the Aloisius secondary school.
For the father, the absence of such accounts being shared is not an indication that the issue is not more common. "There is an underreporting, it's sort of tolerated. We filed charges because my son was very upset about the knife," he says. The perpetrators only got 15 euros in bills and 5 in coins, and the 15-year-old friend had no money in his pocket.
Go Respect initiative worries about the victims
Even though the amount of money stolen was small and there were no injuries, the Go Respect initiative is reluctant to trivialize the incident. "There's quite a bit of criminal energy behind it when a young person lures other young people to join a group that then robs them," says Wolfram Kuster, who founded the initiative against violence 19 years ago in Bad Godesberg. Even as a teacher at the Otto Kühne School, he used to deal with such cases. And he noticed that too little attention was paid to the victims. He believes that the helplessness victims experience is difficult for youth. "It can become ingrained in the soul," Kuster says. Which is why he recommends that those affected ask for help from the police in such a case or seek talks with guidance counselors.
The Bad Godesberg father considers his son to be ok for the time being: "We've worked through this together quite well.”
(Orig. text: Silke Elbern, Maximilian Mühlens / Translation: Carol Kloeppel)