Amsterdam mayor says preventive measures against more explosions is complex
The use of preventive measures against the increasing number of explosions in Amsterdam is a complex issue, said Amsterdam Mayor Femke Halsema during a City Council meeting on Wednesday. Investigators have not yet discovered a clear pattern, and the explosions have taken place throughout the city, she said..
In general, it is completely unpredictable where an explosion will take place, because there are no specific hotspots, the mayor explained. However, in neighborhoods where the explosions occur more often, patrols are stepped up for a short time. Reactive measures are also taken, such as setting up camera surveillance and closing buildings.
On Tuesday, the mayor already answered written questions from VVD Council Member Claire Martens about the explosions. This showed that there have been 42 explosions in the first four months of the year in Amsterdam.
In the same period last year there were 24. During all of 2022 there were 100 explosions in the capital. If the number of explosions continues at the current rate, the total number for 2023 will certainly be higher, Halsema said.
Recently, Rotterdam has also been confronted with excessive violence. In the first four months of this year, for example, there were 37 explosions and 17 incidents where gunmen fired shots at a building. That is more than in all of last year. Mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb announced last week that preventative searches will be permitted in Rotterdam neighborhoods recently affected by more explosions at homes and business premises.
"Unlike in Rotterdam, we have been fighting this horrific phenomenon for many years," said Halsema said of Amsterdam's struggle.
The City Council also learned on Wednesday that the explosions often affect business owners who have not had any ties to organized crime. Earlier reports from a taskforce focused on violence and intimidation targetting entrepreneurs showed that Amsterdam business owners who were the victims in violent incidents in most cases - directly or indirectly - have a link with criminal networks.
These incidents included hand grenades being left on their doorstep, and gunshots fired at the business.
Reporting by ANP