A popular Berlin underground station has become a den of drugs, purse snatchings, pick pockets and sexual assaults. Kottbusser Tor on the Berlin underground sees heavy amounts of traffic, especially in the evenings as it is located near a large group of bars popular with young people. The station has a reputation lately as being somewhere for migrants and others to pick pocket, sell drugs and and assault passers-by according to German paper die Welt.
The area has been “multi-cultural” for many years but the instances of crime have remained under control with many party goers coming from local bars (of which there are on every corner) to the station to pick up recreational drugs like marijuana, ecstacy or cocaine to add to their nights of partying. More recently, local Turks have taken to becoming pickpockets at the station and using sharp razor blades would, according to the paper, slice the bottom out of women’s purses, wait for the contents to fall to the floor, and make off with their prize before the victim of the theft knew the thief was ever there.
A local worker in one of the kebab kiosks around the “Kotti” as it is known to locals told media that over the last year (and since the migrant crisis started) the situation around the station had deteriorated into what he could only describe as, “very, very bad” and told of migrant young men who having little respect for German law would simply take whatever they wanted from local shop keepers and from people walking by the area.
The worker described the methods of the thieves saying, “the perpetrators go in groups. One looks where a bag is open, goes in, the others are there to protect him.” Having a first hand view of the thieves operation from his kiosk he sees the thieves at work daily.
Reports of criminality in the area has more than doubled since the start of migrant crisis. In 2014 the individual crime reports totalled 336 while in 2015 the number has doubled to an incredible 775. Cases of robbery went from 52 to 80 and assault from 49 to 68 total reports.
Police presence in the area has increased dramatically but hasn’t stopped the increase in crime with skilled pick pockets being able to steal belongings leaving victims none the wiser until much later when the criminals have disappeared, often into the maze-like Kreuzberg Centre apartment building next to the station.
Earlier this year, a cafe owner in the Kotti area said: “Once it gets dark, drugs are sold and passers by are robbed. They act in groups, stalking their victims, for example, at an ATM [cash machine]. A popular distraction trick is where they hug someone, and after, you are missing your wallet.
“Meanwhile, there are also these sexual assaults. Girls who are surrounded and groped.”
When asked who the perpetrators of such crimes are, he responds: “Young guys from North African countries, the same clientele as in Cologne”.