Despite a heavy police presence, Cologne carnival saw a large increase in sex crimes on last year, with police reporting the same “problem groups” who ran amok on New Year’s Eve still causing trouble.
There were 66 complaints of sexual assault and rape during Cologne carnival this year, up on 18 in 2015, reports North Rhine-Westphalia paper Express.
The significant overall increase in crime at the carnival, including the 266 per cent rise in sex offences was despite a last minute threat to cancel Monday’s parade due to an incoming storm, and poor weather throughout the carnival week pushing down attendance figures.
Police were effective in reducing certain crimes including thefts and murders, with a force spokesman crediting them with bringing about “positive effects” by “Close collaboration with our partners, more police in the city, video surveillance, the illumination particularly frequented areas in the dark and an early intervention by the police”.
In wake of the New Year’s Eve sex attacks which saw over 1,000 assaulted and mugged in the centre of Cologne and saw the forced retirement of Cologne’s chief of police, the force was quick to downplay the explosion in sex crime at carnival. Rather than the rise being down the violent migrant gangs preying on drunk German girls, the increase was likely down to people being more likely to report offences, claimed the force, as reported by The Guardian.
Despite that, police admitted their efforts with generator-powered lights, video surveillance, and more police officers had failed to clear the “problem groups from North Africa” who caused chaos and raped hundreds on New Year’s Eve around the cathedral steps and were still congregating there during carnival.
In a report by Cologne’s new chief of police Jürgen Mathies, as soon as the force had to relocate officers away from the Cathedral steps to deal with trouble elsewhere, “immediately after this highly problematic [group] gathered” there again. While the senior officer cited this experience as an argument for the force keeping a maintained presence of more officers in the city, there is no suggestion police could be everywhere all the time.
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