The Berlin police on Wednesday, June 7, released a previously secret annual list of criminal hot spots in the city, a move that was required by the coalition agreement of Berlin’s left-leaning government.
The list now includes just 9 locations, down from as many as 20 previously, as crime fell in recent months in the Hauptstadt, according to the Berliner Kurier. Locations such as Hasenheide in Kreuzberg, known for drug sales, and Schöneberg’s Kurfürstenstrasse, a hotspot for prostitution, are no longer included.
Although the areas still on the list will come as no surprise to residents, the designation as a crime-ridden area, or kriminalitätsbelasteten Ort (kbO), is important because it allows officers to stop and interrogate people in the areas without first suspecting them of being involved in a crime.
The most crime-ridden areas are:
- Alexanderplatz (Mitte)
- Leopoldplatz (Wedding)
- Kleiner Tiergarten (Moabit)
- North Schöneberg-Nord (Nollendorfplatz, Rainbow Neighborhood (Regenbogen-Kiez)),
- Görlitzer Park (Kreuzberg)
- Warschauer Brücke (Friedrichshain)
- Kottbusser Tor (Kreuzberg)
- Parts of Hermannstraße (Kreuzberg)
- Hermannplatz (Kreuzberg)
- Part of Rigaer Straße (Friedrichshain)
The lists for years have been leaked to the press, sparking the ire of the police who fear criminals would exploit the knowledge to become even more criminal.
But Benjamin Jendro from the police union downplayed the significance.
“Whether or not the kbOs are public or not plays no role for our colleagues — they have nothing to hide,” Jendro told the Kurier. “That we today have fewer kbOs is certainly nice to look at from a political perspective. But we should ask ourselves if the situation in Hasenheide or on Kurfürstenstraße is really so rosy or if the limited personnel are better used elsewhere.”
The list comes just a week after the Kurier reported a drastic decrease in crime in certain areas of the city last year. The neighborhood around the Warschauer Bridge, which includes the RAW party area, saw 1,267 cases of theft (including burglary) in 2016, 1,003 cases less than in 2015, according to the paper.
Violent crimes (assault, sexual assault and armed robbery) dropped to 640 reported cases from 732 in the previous year.
A similar drop was seen in Görlitzer Park, the paper reported, but no change was seen at Kottbusser Tor.