Amsterdam police chief concerned about armed young people

An increasing number of young people in Amsterdam carry a knife with them, make threatening videos with it, and actually use it on the street, and that is very concerning, Amsterdam police chief Frank Paauw said to AT5.

"You can see it is getting out of hand", Paauw said to the Amsterdam broadcaster "Sometimes you see young people under 15 who are already walking around with a knife. The possession of weapons the carrying of knives, is becoming commonplace."

According to the police chief, the knife possession is something that blew over from England. "Firearms are used less there, but the number of stabbings with fatalities has grown considerably in recent years. We really have to put a brake on this."

Another problem is rap groups challenging each other online in videos. These groups threaten each other and do not shy away from violence, according to AT5. This is called drill music, a phenomenon that came from Chicago and is especially popular in Amsterdam Zuidoost, the broadcaster writes. An 18-year-old man who was stabbed to death in an Amsterdam Zuidoost flat last week appeared in such a video, according to AT5. 

"The street and youth culture are changing fast", Paauw said. "And that means that as a government and as society, also when it comes to reporting, we have to take very big steps to turn the tide here."

Paauw raised similar concerns during a debate on recent violence in Amsterdam Zuidoost last week. Amsterdam mayor Femke Halsema said that more than conventional measures will be needed to address this issue. She therefore wants to focus the city's approach on police investigations and strengthening the district, so that local residents can help suppress violence themselves.