City Centre Incidents Young people feel unsafe in Bad Godesberg in the evening
Bad Godesberg · Is the city centre of Bad Godesberg a no-go area for young people, especially in the evening? After the report about the violent attack on a student, some GA readers have come forward to describe similar experiences.
Getting punched in the head or stomach or kicked in the back: many youths and young adults have suffered violent assaults. Like the student from Bad Godesberg who spoke in a GA interview a few days ago about how he was beaten up by several youths late at night for no reason.
Apparently not an isolated case
This was apparently not an isolated incident. Many victims or their parents contacted the editorial office after the report and described similar incidents. "My son was beaten up with a baseball bat and robbed," said one mother. A 24-year-old man reported that he could only escape by making a dangerous run across the busy B9. Another was only able to get away from his attackers at the last minute by making a daring jump into an approaching bus.
The latest crime statistics speak for themselves. In Bonn’s urban area, there were a total of 1833 assaults recorded in 2022 (compared to 1441 in 2021); in Bad Godesberg, the figure was 780, compared to 672 the year before. But the number of unreported cases is far higher.
Victims' mental health takes a beating
The Weißer Ring, which is a volunteer-run support organisation for victims of crime, believes that not all incidents are reported. Men in particular seem to find it difficult to talk about an attack. "Women deal with this kind of experience more candidly and are more likely to seek help," says Alexander Poretschkin, head of the organisation's Bonn chapter. If someone contacts the victim support organisation after such a trauma, they get one thing above all: "Time," Poretschkin emphasises. "We listen, no matter how long it takes. Many are thankful that someone is listening to them." Feelings of powerlessness, shame, helplessness and humiliation are intolerable for many. In addition, many victims of crime blame themselves. "The psychological wounds are often much greater than the physical ones," says Poretschkin. The organisation helps victims of violence to come to terms with what happened to them from both a legal and psychological point of view
As Wolfram Kuster of GoRespekt, a round table against violence, sees it, these examples show that more focus needs to be placed on prevention. "The case numbers alone show that more needs to be invested in terms of personnel and prevention," he says, responding to the current incident. He, too, believes that the number of unreported cases is much higher than the statistically recorded figures. "And anyone who has been the victim of violence will not forget the experience so quickly," he is sure.
Through joint campaigns with the Godesberg business community, talks, project days at schools and crime prevention offers, GoRespekt has been working for years to sensitise more and more people to the issue. "This has helped to ensure that the concrete cooperation between police, city, schools and politics has become increasingly close-knit," says Kuster.
Young people avoid the city centre
Many young people now avoid the city centre, the Theaterplatz, Bonner Strasse and Koblenzer Strasse, especially after dark. Bernd Viebach, whose son has also experienced senseless acts of violence, points out the lack of anywhere for the younger genearation to meet in a safe environment. "There are six grammar schools and other types of schools in Godesberg. But there is not a single place in the whole town for young people to meet," he complains. "In my youth there were five, six discos and numerous bars alone. This place has become completely unattractive for young people," Viebach says.
"But that's exactly what the One-World-Café is for," Wolfram Kuster says, pointing out one offer in Bad Godesberg. He adds: "This underscores the common will to make an important contribution to the prevention of violence, including in the public sphere. It's a task for society as a whole that urgently needs to be addressed, also in view of the current general situation."
(Original text: Gabriele Immenkeppel; Translation: Jean Lennox)