This phenomenon does exist, it shouldn’t be discussed away and pretended that it doesn’t exist, « » Pürstl stated.
This phenomenon is partly linked with considerable drug trafficking in public spaces. At the beginning of 2016, the response was focused. At the initiative of the Vienna police, the drug law was also changed. « » This phenomenon does exist, you shouldn’t discuss it away and pretend it doesn’t exist, « » Pürstl stated.
Afghan and Chechen groups in particular are very present in public space. There are always arguments and bodily harm. « » And that certainly affects the subjective feeling of security. « » If one cannot enter a business premises easily because it is blocked by a group of strangers, this affects the subjective feeling of security. « » They don’t have to have done anything yet, « said Pürstl.
According to Pürstl, that means integration
Even the police could not solve this alone, said the police chief. « » We have to show our presence there, we have to intervene immediately in the event of criminal acts, we have to have the appropriate level of control, but ultimately it’s all a question of integration. Integration also means providing day-to-day employment in order to get these people away from public places by ultimately getting them into an employment process. And the second story is that all those who are not allowed to be there because they have negative decisions should leave the country if possible. Fair processes, fair procedures, no question about it. But whoever has a negative decision has to leave the country. « »
When asked about the latest problematic official acts with Russian citizens from Chechnya, in which police officers were sometimes seriously injured, Pürstl said: « » This is a phenomenon that doesn’t need to be kept a secret. At that time people came to Austria who went through wars, where they learned how to handle weapons as children, where violence was already in the foreground in childhood. Police experience that there is an increased propensity for violence within this community. The level of education is often not the highest, many are in the bouncer scene. « » The propensity to use violence against police officers is high. There is of course a dialogue with the Chechen community. « » Of course you make an effort, but every effort finds the limit where acceptance within your own community does not break through. « » But: Many official acts with Chechens would be absolutely frictionless.
Academic ball back on the program
At the end of January, the academics ball organized by the Vienna FPÖ in the Hofburg is on the program again, which has caused the police a lot of headaches in the past due to the protests against it. Whether this year the participation of the FPÖ in government is additional explosive is « » not yet finally assessable, « » said Pürstl.123 help essay No demonstrations have been registered yet, « » it’s just too early « ».
The first ten years – a look back
When Gerhard Pürstl took over the office of the Vienna Police President on January 1st, 2008, he initially had to struggle with internal matters. The so-called sauna affair, which had cast a bad light on the executive, was not over in court. A few months later, the executive was faced with a major task: the smooth handling of EURO 2008, which ended with the final in Vienna. « » A huge challenge for me, « said Pürstl. « » Thank God we brought it to an excellent end in Vienna. « »
“Everyone in Europe who was addicted knew Karlsplatz. A huge tablet market. »
« » An important challenge for me was to make Karlsplatz drug-free. 35 to 40 years old drug center in the heart of Europe. Everyone in Europe who was addicted knew Karlsplatz. A huge tablet market. Everyone said there was nothing that could be done about that, « » said the police chief, describing the initial situation. « » I’ve always said it’s just a matter of will. « »
« » It took us three years in the end. With consistent work, with thousands and thousands of controls, arrests and confiscations, with a tireless work of the addiction and drug coordination of the city, with an attempt to lead people out of the scene into the ways of addiction care. And in 2013 we were able to declare Karlsplatz drug-free, « said the state police chief.
A second major action was the banishment of street prostitutes in Vienna – in the 14th and 15th districts, on the Gürtel, in the Prater and in the Stuwerviertel in Leopoldstadt. They had succeeded in persuading them that a prostitution law was passed. Street prostitution in the residential area was banned, and prohibited zones were also drawn up. ““ We removed the street prostitute within two months. ”“ Today there are still two permitted zones in Liesing and Floridsdorf and hardly any complaints. It is difficult to measure whether the – forbidden – apartment prostitution has increased.
« We removed the street prostitute within two months »
Pürstl named the evacuation of the votive park in December 2012 as another official act that he remembered. « » My point of view has always been that a park is not a residential area. « » In addition to criticism, the evacuation has also garnered great approval.
The chief of police came under fire during the evacuation of the « Pizzeria Anarchia » « in Leopoldstadt at the end of July 2014. The police had a court order to evacuate an occupied house in which punks and other residents had shown solidarity against the owner of the building. The bottom line was that the police had used 1,700 officers to evacuate a house with 19 occupants. « At the beginning we were weak in communication because we didn’t have our own Twitter account, » said Pürstl. Communication via social networks should have taken place earlier.
The starting position was such that one had this judicial order to evacuate. The date was known in advance and it was to be expected that there would be demonstrations against usury, the police chief said. Therefore, in the end, 1,400 officers were commanded. However, they failed to communicate how this number was broken down. « » 90 officers were busy with the actual evacuation. In addition, 400 officials came to cordon off the area, « » said Pürstl. The rest was kept in readiness for any demos.
About the person: Gerhard Pürstl has been President of the Vienna State Police since January 1st, 2008. He was born on July 5, 1962 in Vienna. The lawyer joined the former Federal Police Directorate in Vienna on April 1, 1988 – today the State Police Directorate – where he held various positions. Before he was appointed head of the Vienna police force, he was head of the office for legal issues and data protection.
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When the crime statistics for 2017 are presented, they should show fewer than 200,000 criminal charges for Vienna. That said the Vienna State Police President Gerhard Pürstl these days, in which he also took stock of his first ten years in office. This would mean a significant decrease compared to 2016, when a little more than 205,000 advertisements were registered.
When Pürstl took over the office of Police President from Peter Stiedl (since September 1, 2012, State Police President), the number of reported crimes was around 215,000, of which the Viennese police had clarified around 28 percent. « » It was a police force that conveyed anything but security, « said Pürstl. At that time, there were around 10,000 break-ins (in apartments and single-family houses), around 17,000 break-ins in motor vehicles and around 3,000 vehicle thefts. 76 banks were attacked as well as around 100 tobacconists.
« It was a police force that gave everything but security »
The numbers have been reduced significantly, said Pürstl, although « » 200,000 more people live in the city than in 2008 « ». For 2017, the crime statistics should show around 5,200 break-ins in homes, more than ever in the past ten years. « » That’s half (compared to 2008, note), « said Pürstl. In addition, around 5,000 vehicle break-ins and 1,300 vehicle thefts should appear. The raid on financial institutions is out of fashion. In 2017, exactly seven such crimes were registered, plus around 30 coups in tobacco shops. The police are also likely to have cleared up more than 40 percent of the crimes reported in Vienna. « » When it comes to crime, and I always admit it, the police play an essential role, but that’s not all. There are many other factors as well. But as far as education goes, that’s the performance that policing can reflect. « »
That’s what the police are doing today
You have achieved this with many strategies. The most important is: « » Police work needs a steady hand. You need proper strategies by filtering out the phenomena that are there and asking where we have a problem. And we did that in all these areas, « » emphasized the police chief. During the break-in, for example, it was discovered that a lot more crime scene evidence had to be collected and analyzed. In addition, there was the intensified criminal investigation against people who repeatedly appear in connection with break-ins – « » penetrate into organized crime « », said Pürstl.
© APA / Helmut Fohringer
Surveys against perpetrators from certain countries, « » Keyword Georgians, Moldavians, Serbs, Croats, Romanians « », were also stepped up. « » It has nothing to do with ethnic profiling. We have to organize our forces in the criminal service so that there are employees who primarily deal with certain gangs that come from certain countries. Not everyone can explain everything today. It is very clear that an organization from Serbia is not related to an organization from Moldova, and I need employees who specialize in such organizations. « »
« Where the crime starts, the police must also start »
Pürstl cited « Operation Java » as an example, during which in March 2010 a pan-European burglar organization was evacuated from Georgia. Extensive investigations from foreign to criminal police measures have been initiated. « » Back then I was heavily criticized for ethnic profiling. It was said, how does one come to the fact that now everyone is placed under general suspicion. We didn’t do that at all. We knew that the criminal organizations from Georgia start with our asylum seekers and try to generate them as soldiers and send them off as burglars. And that’s why we started with those, because where the crime starts, the police have to start. Otherwise the population would chase us out of town with a wet scrap. « »
Narcotics-sourcing crime targeted
Another important point was that the drug-procuring crime was addressed. « » We found that around 20 to 25 percent of all property crimes – especially those in the lower-threshold area – are committed by people who use addictive substances. If you keep in mind that someone who is really addicted spends around 50 to 100 euros a day on drugs, then they have to either work relatively well, have someone to sponsor them, or get the money from illegal sources. « » They looked at those who attract attention with addictive substances and tried to understand how these people finance their addiction.
The introduction of investigations in the police inspection area and in city police commanders was also very important. « » The police inspector goes out and questions the neighbors about a broken window. That was not the case ten years ago. In the past, the detectives in the district police stations took care of the big things, and with the small ones they said that it could not be collected without carefully looking at these things. Now that the fight against crime has really gone into the air, that is to say, it is everyone’s business, of course the little things are also taken care of. And that has certainly also contributed to the clearance rate « , explained Pürstl.
Rest in the executive branch as the main task
Ten years ago, when Gerhard Pürstl became the police president of Vienna, the executive in the federal capital was in a difficult situation. The so-called sauna affair even uncovered criminally relevant intrigues by police officers. Not least because of this, the mood was bad, which also had an impact on the results.
« » One of my main tasks was to bring calm to the organization, « said Pürstl. « » And that succeeded relatively quickly. I took those who I knew were the main players in the whole cause, one after the other, and given them the choice: there is the option to work or you can leave the organization. 95 percent understood this, reintegrated into the organization and are now doing their best. Some had to be parted with. And in the end it worked very well, we are pulling together again today, and the Vienna police have an excellent reputation. « »
The feeling of security depends on it
Pürstl admitted that the objectively good security development does not entirely correlate with the population’s subjective feeling of security. « » It has to do with a lot of things. This has to do with the generally abstract terror threat. This has to do with the great wave of migration and its aftermath, with some phenomena in public space, also with the reporting of some tabloid media that prefer to bring out bad news than good news. It’s also related to the fact that everyone can make their voice heard on social media. We have to learn to deal with that. « »
According to the police chief, the great wave of migration in 2015 meant that strangers who came here would group themselves according to their ethnic group and would increasingly be in public space. In this context, Pürstl named Afghan and North African groups, as well as Chechen groups.