Hamburg police will deploy a mix of fixed cameras, vehicle cameras, and officer body cameras to dissuade sexual assaults and identify those who carry out attacks on New Year’s Eve.
CCTV cameras have been installed on major thoroughfares in Hamburg before the annual New Year’s Eve celebrations, including on the city’s famous Reeperbahn Street. Police Commissioner Ralf Martin Meyer commented on the new cameras, saying: “Video surveillance in these locations will help deter potential perpetrators from committing crimes,” Die Welt reports.
Last year, Hamburg saw around 400 women and girls report that they had been sexually assaulted over New Year’s Eve, and police were criticised for the fact that, despite having a large presence, many attackers were never identified.
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The police were forced to resort to looking through photographs taken by partygoers to help identify some of the suspects, but they hope new camera technology will allow them to identify suspects more easily.
After the G20 riots in Hamburg earlier this year, police were able to use video camera technology to identify many of the rioters and bring them to court and likely hope to have the same kind of success for suspects on New Year’s Eve.
Hamburg police have also increased the number of uniformed officers equipped with riot gear to 530 this year, and say a number of plainclothes officers will be patrolling highly trafficked areas as well.
Since the massive number of sex attacks that occurred in Cologne on New Year’s Eve in 2015, police have had to substantially increase security in many major German cities.
In Cologne itself, last year’s festivities had far fewer incidents of violence and sex attacks, though police were accused of “racially profiling” North African migrant men unfairly — despite many of the victims in 2015 describing their attackers as migrants.