Preventative searching in Venlo after fatal shooting; situation underestimated, says councilor

Police and paramedics at the scene of a fatal shooting in Blerick, Venlo, 1 Nov 2017
Police and paramedics at the scene of a fatal shooting in Blerick, Venlo, 1 Nov 2017. (Photo: Politie)

For the coming month, the police will be allowed to search people for illegal weapon possession in large parts of Venlo, even without concrete suspicion, mayor Antoin Scholten announced. This measure was implemented due to unrest in the city following a fatal shooting in the Blerick district last week. "The question is whether preventative searching will restore rest in Blerick", PvdA city councilor Hay Janssen said to NOS. "We underestimated what is happening in Blerick."

On Wednesday 22-year-old Omer Koskal was killed a shooting in Blerick, the third serious shooting in the district in just over two months. According to the mayor, all three shootings were drug related. On Thursday, a group of 15 men harassed and attacked journalists in the neighborhood. The situation was still tense over the weekend, according tot he broadcaster. A person was assaulted in Venlo on Saturday, and a car was set on fire during the early hours of Sunday morning.

The mayor therefore decided to implement preventative searching. Janssen thinks that this will not solve the problems. "We underestimated what is happening in Blerick. For example, the neighborhood of Vastenavondkamp, where I myself live, has been struggling with social and economic problems for a long time. Something has to be done about that on the long term", he said to NOS.

According to Janssen, the municipality waited too long to intervene, though The Hague also carries some of the blame. "We had good control over drug problems in the city, but through national measures, dealing moved from the coffeeshops on the edges of the city, to the neighborhoods", he said. Jannsen believes that the underlying problems in the neighborhoods must be addressed. "The municipality will have to invest into these neighborhoods, that's happening too little."