Austrian police will hand out 6,000 pocket rape alarms on New Year’s Eve to help fight mass sex attacks such as those perpetrated by migrants in neighbouring Germany a year ago.
The interior ministry said Tuesday that officers will be distributing the devices in the run up to the festive celebrations in the capital Vienna, Welt reports.
“It’s a national campaign aimed primarily at women on New Year’s Eve,” ministry spokesman Karl-Heinz Grundboeck told AFP.
When activated, the gadgets will emit a shrill sound aimed at deterring potential attackers and attracting help, Mr. Grundboeck explained.
Hundreds are expected to visit the city for New Year’s Eve, and the ministry has already announced beefed up security following the deadly attack at a Christmas market in Berlin on Monday evening.
During the 2015/16 New Year’s Eve celebrations in Cologne, Germany, hundreds of sexual assaults (including groping and at least five rapes) were reported.
Witnesses described the attackers as of “North African or Arab origin”. It later emerged that most suspects came from Algeria, Morocco, or Iraq, that many were claiming asylum in Germany, and 70 per cent had been in the country for less than a year.
Local media later apologised for ‘covering up’ and initially failing to report on the attacks. Leaked documents and e-mails showed the police were also under pressure to keep quiet about the migrant attacks.
Last month it was reported that the city is now considering using helicopters, registering all newcomers, and setting up “women retreats” to keep females safe this year.
“A consistent and comprehensive first-time survey of asylum seekers/refugees at entry is regarded as mandatory for both preventive policing… and investigative inspection,” official recommendations made to police read.
The authors of the report also said the establishment of “women retreats/security points” should be examined and suggest extra “police horses, helicopters, and elevated observation positions” to control the mobs and revellers this year.