Mitte Mayor Blames Poland for Tiergarten’s Lawlessness

The mayor of Tiergarten on Friday said prostitution, drug use and trash have gotten out of hand in Tiergarten park and laid the blame at least partially on the Polish government, according to a report in Tagesspiegel.

The mayor, Stephan von Dassel (Green Party), reportedly said he would like to boost the number of Ordnungsamt Beamten (code enforcement officers) in his area to 60 from 30 and said keeping the park clean, including collecting buckets of used syringes, is pushing personnel to their limits.

West of the Brandenburg Gate and bordering Potsdamer Platz, the 200-hectare (494.2 acre) Tiergarten has been one of Berlin’s favorite parks for decades but has also been a well-known cruising spot for men looking for anonymous sex. The park has also become popular with homeless campers, a problem highlighted by the robbery and murder last month of a 60-year-old art historian on a path between the Schleusenkrug restaurant and Bahnhof Zoo.

Prostitution has reportedly exploded in the park as well with men offering services for as low at €20 — some underage and some illegal immigrants.

Von Dassel, according to the Tagesspiegel,  said the problems start east of Germany: “The Polish government can’t solve its social problems in Berlin parks … Deporting aggressive homeless people from other EU countries can no longer be a taboo.”

Although criminals from other EU countries can be exported following repeated convictions, it’s not easy, according to the paper. The Berlin government is also hesitant to deport anyone.

“The Tiergarten is increasingly becoming a lawless zone,” von Dassel was quoted as saying during a press conference. “It’s no longer acceptable.”

As a first step, Mitte will begin using a private security company to monitor popular dumping areas to catch companies illegally dumping trash in the park. The patrols will begin by the end of the year.

Von Dassel is famous for wanting to tackle social problems with force. He wants to outlaw prostitution on Kurfürstenstrasse, which has been a de facto red light district for decades and also lies within the Mitte-Tiergarten district. But he said he faced so much political resistance to the idea that he’s trying to tackle the neighborhoods problems with other tools.

Photo thanks Stephan von Dassel.

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