Insecurity among Amsterdam student dorm residents after sexual assault

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A series of incidents, the most serious of which a girl being sexually assaulted last week, has left the residents of student dorm on H.J.E Wenckebachweg in Amsterdam-Oost feeling insecure in their own homes.

Since the municipality started renovating the area around Weespertrekvaart, and closed down the street to traffic for the work, the neighborhood is feeling less safe, the students living in the container housing on H.J.E Wenckebachweg said to Het Parool. It's darker now, the bike path goes along quiet pieces and with the road closed there is much less car traffic.

Over the past few months there have been numerous incidents in the area. On January 27th a girl was grabbed from her bike near subway station Spaklerweg. A man forced her into the bushes and sexually assaulted her for about 15 minutes. On January 29th two men threatened to rape another girl. On January 1st a young man reported being threatened with a knife. On December 16th a man showed up at a female students door and shouted sexual comments at her, according to AT5.

The D66 wants to know what is going on and whether the students living in the dorm are safe. "This shocked me greatly. Students should be able to feel safe in and around their own homes. We want to talk to the mayor about more supervision and enforcement", D66 councilor Arielle Verheul said to Het Parool. She will be raising questions on the matter during the next council meeting on February 10th.

Neighborhood Oost is also shocked. "We are aware and very upset. It is an area under development. A safety coordinator will look into lighting this week, we will get to work as soon as possible", a spokesperson said to AT5.

Housing corporation De Key shares the student's concerns. They want to meet with them and discuss what they need and how the situation can be improved.

But the students themselves decided not to wait on politicians and housing corporations. They are taking matters into their own hands, by raising self defense awareness. Initiator Tijmen Swaalf started a petition for camera surveillance at the dorm's front and rear doors. A bicycle group was also established, so that no one has to cycle to work or school alone. "It works very well. Someone posts on Facebook that they, for example, will be at the Amstel station in half an hour and then there is always someone to cycle with home.", Layla Jamarie said to Het Parool.

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