100 explosions and shootings in Rotterdam this year already; political leaders express sadness
The number of incidents involving explosions and shootings in Rotterdam is estimated to have already crossed the 100-mark. This figure is substantially higher than the total count for all of 2022. The number of such incidents has been sharply rising in recent years. In the Rotterdam police region, 12 such incidents were registered in 2021, a figure that rose to 65 the following year.
The city has been ravaged for several years by explosions at homes and business premises throughout the city. It is suspected that the incidents are linked to drug trafficking. Stores and homes are especially affected by the explosions.
On Thursday, political parties in the Rotterdam city council collectively expressed their concern and sadness over the escalating violence in the city this year.
Ingrid Coenradie, the leader of the Leefbaar Rotterdam party, said she wants to keep the recent wave of violence on the political agenda and has already requested several council debates. "We will continue to do so. We understand that this problem won't be solved easily, but we must try to break the culture of silence. Also, the recruitment of children within families and on social media must be stopped. As far as Leefbaar is concerned, the national gendarmerie should be deployed whenever the police lack sufficient capacity," she stated.
"One hundred incidents is not a milestone to be proud of," said the GroenLinks faction. "The rise in the number of explosions and shootings at homes and stores in and around our city is a worrying fact. Equally alarming is the fact that more than half of the arrested suspects are no older than 23, with a quarter even being underage. These children and young people are being exploited by hardened criminals involved in organized crime. This is something we cannot allow to happen in Rotterdam."
The Labour Party PvdA wants all residents of Rotterdam to live in a safe neighborhood. "Particularly the neighborhoods already under pressure are most frequently plagued by bomb attacks. The very young age of many offenders shocks us.” According to the PvdA, this underscores the necessity not only to apprehend these people but also to keep tabs on them persistently. “Detection and punishment are only half the story. If we are serious about safety, we also need to concentrate on creating opportunities for young people, providing avenues for education, and facilitating good work."
Pascal Lansink-Bastemeijer, leader of the VVD, described the situation as "an extremely sad record." His party aims to implement the so-called Group Violence Intervention (GVI) as soon as possible. This method is recognized internationally as a way to steer young people away from crime. "This approach has been very successful in Sweden," he noted. Furthermore, he called for a national examination of how privacy law (GDPR) impacts the handling of criminals. According to him, the GDPR significantly hinders efforts to tackle serious crime.
In March, Rotterdam Mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb said that the increasing number of explosions in Rotterdam was due to the successful interception of drugs at the port of Rotterdam. It shows the trend that drug criminals do not only target their rivals but also their rivals’ relatives.
“So many drugs are seized that drug criminals start blaming each other for why a shipment has disappeared.” That’s why the police and OM always announce drug seizures as soon as they happen to prevent those accusations and retaliations.
The mayor said he noticed a difference from previous years in the number of attacks, their severity, and the ease with which they happen. He spoke of a trend, a “harrowing phenomenon,” where criminals go after not only rivals but also their families. As measures against the wave of explosions, he mentioned extra patrols, extra surveillance, and a separate team to investigate the attacks.
Reporting by ANP