Police mull helicopters, CCTV to fight New Year sex crimes
As Cologne prepares for New Year's Eve a year after a spate of sexual assaults, officials are considering ramping up security with helicopters, video surveillance and restricted entry to certain places, according to a media report.
A group of experts from state and federal police have been analyzing the events of New Year’s Eve last year under a project called “Silvester” - meaning New Year’s Eve in German. Their final report is set to be discussed at a conference of interior ministries starting on Tuesday, and Cologne’s Express newspaper obtained a copy of the police recommendations, the newspaper reported on Monday.
The attackers were normally described as being of North African appearance and the BKA reported that most suspects came from either Algeria, Morocco, or Iraq.
The new report offers numerous concrete recommendations as to how that New Year’s Eve night could have been prevented, including limiting the number of people in certain areas during large events, as well as the use of helicopters and horse-mounted police.
One of the problems for investigating the crimes in Cologne was that the security cameras around the train station where most crimes were reported were poor quality, therefore making it hard to identify suspects. Thus the report further recommends having video surveillance and better light sources.
The report also recommends a better review and registration of refugees upon their arrival in the country as well as an improved exchange of information among states and with Europol.
Furthermore, the report argues that there must be more work done to integrate immigrants and “improve the basic conditions which result in social-structure disadvantages and frustrations as a result of lack of personal exchange, financial participation, recognition and barriers to getting to know women.”
The large number of crimes committed last New Year’s Eve night raised questions about the competence of police, who were accused of covering up the refugee background of attackers and the details of the attacks, as well as not providing sufficient security.