Over 180 explosions and gunfire incidents in Rotterdam region so far this year
As of August 31, there have been 117 explosions and 65 shootings in Rotterdam this year, the police said on Friday. So far, the police arrested 103 suspects for these 182 excessive violence cases. Many of the suspects are young, and some are connected to as many as seven or eight different incidents.
A fifth of the arrested suspects are minors, and 58 percent are under the age of 24. About half come from Rotterdam. The rest mainly come from the other municipalities in the region. The police expect to arrest many more suspects, given that many investigations are still ongoing or haven’t even started yet.
According to Rotterdam police chief Fred Westerbeke, many suspects, especially the younger ones, don’t realize that they’ve committed a serious crime with severe consequences for the city and for themselves. Many think along the lines of - I light cobra fireworks on New Year’s, so why not now for a pile of cash? “But it’s not that simple.”
“There are explosions where facades are completely blown off, and homes are destroyed inside. It is a miracle that no serious casualties have occurred among residents or passers-by,” Westerbeke said. “And if you get caught, you are suspected of a very serious offense that carries heavy penalties.”
“With 103 arrests in 182 incidents and many ongoing investigations, I dare to say that the chance that you will be caught is high,” Westerbeke said.
According to him, the Rotterdam police are “working hard day and night” to prevent these violent crimes and find those responsible for them. “But we can’t spend all that capacity that we have to deploy on these kinds of incidents on anything else. Shooting incidents and explosions have absolute top priority, but it means making choices every day. Choices that hurt our police hearts because you have to ignore other things.”