Aachen employs smart phones to bust illegal parkers

Authorities in the North Rhine-Westphalian city of Aachen are clamping down on illegal parking by using cameras on smart phones to make it almost impossible to challenge a citation.

Aachen employs smart phones to bust illegal parkers
Photo: DPA

The move makes Aachen the first large city in Germany – it has about 260,000 inhabitants – to use the technology to enforce parking laws, according to municipal officials.

Photos from the “crime scene” make protests futile and will save the city €80,000 per year, said Detlev Fröhlke, a spokesman for the city office that enforces parking ordinances, on Wednesday.

When parking enforcers find illegally parked cars, they are instructed to take three photos in order to confirm the offence. The data they enter in the system is compared with the photos to ensure everything is being documented properly.

The system has been in use for a month and if it’s successful Aachen hopes to use it to enforce other offences, such as the illegal dumping of garbage or unauthorized advertising on roads.

The Local/DPA/mdm

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German man jailed for killing petrol station worker in mask row

A 50-year-old German man was jailed for life Tuesday for shooting dead a petrol station cashier because he was angry about being told to wear a mask while buying beer.

German man jailed for killing petrol station worker in mask row

The September 2021 murder in the western town of Idar-Oberstein shocked Germany, which saw a vocal anti-mask and anti-vaccine movement emerge in response to the government’s coronavirus restrictions.

The row started when 20-year-old student worker Alex W. asked the man to put on a mask inside the shop, as required in all German stores at the time.

After a brief argument, the man left.

The perpetrator – identified only as Mario N. – returned about an hour and a half later, this time wearing a mask. But as he bought his six-pack of beer to the till, he took off his mask and another argument ensued.

He then pulled out a revolver and shot the cashier in the head point-blank.

On Tuesday, the district court in Bad-Kreuznach convicted Mario N. of murder and unlawful possession of a firearm, and handed him a life sentence.

READ ALSO: Shock in Germany after cashier shot dead in Covid mask row

Under German law, people given a life sentence can usually seek parole after 15 years. His defence team had sought a sentence of manslaughter, rather than murder.

At the start of the trial, prosecutor Nicole Frohn told how Mario N. had felt increasingly angry about the measures imposed to curb the pandemic, seeing them as an infringement on his rights.

“Since he knew he couldn’t reach the politicians responsible, he decided to kill him (Alex W.),” she said.

Mario N. turned himself in to police the day after the shooting.

German has relaxed most of its coronavirus rules, although masks are still required in some settings, such as public transport.