New law allows mayors to evict people if shooting, explosion threatens at home
The lower house of the Dutch parliament passed a bill that gives mayors the legal authority to temporarily evict residents and close houses when there is a chance of a shooting or explosion at the home. Currently, mayors can do that only through emergency decrees, NOS reports.
The emergency decree closures don’t always hold up in court because the decree states that there must be severe nuisance in the home itself. The Dutch mayors asked for clearer rules. The many explosions at homes in cities like Amsterdam and Rotterdam are now a structural problem, and mayors have to close more and more houses. Clear legislation is needed, the mayors of the four large cities stressed.
There have been over 50 explosions and shootings at Rotterdam homes so far this year. The Amsterdam counter stood at 42 in the first four months of 2023. Mayors try to avert the danger to targeted residents and their neighbors and return peace to the neighborhood by temporarily evicting residents and closing the targeted home.
Mayors will still always determine on a case-by-case basis whether eviction is really necessary, Utrecht mayor Sharon DIjksma said on behalf of the four large Dutch cities. “It is one of the most far-reaching powers you have as a mayor. You can’t take it lightly. But if there’s a real danger to neighbors or unsuspecting passers-by, sometimes you have to take these kinds of measures,” she said. With the new law, courts will still check whether the closure is justified.
According to the Utrecht mayor, this new law is badly needed, but more is necessary to counter the wave of attacks on homes. “Camera surveillance costs tons, and it also takes a lot of capacity to view all the images,” Dijksma said. The police don’t have the capacity to detect all threats and prevent all attacks. “Actually, you want to be ahead of this type of crime.”
The mayors asked for more people and resources from the State to tackle these crimes. They also want the government to make information exchange between the Public Prosecution Service and municipalities easier so that they can take measures in time.