The Eindhoven neighbourhoods of Oud-Woensel and Vaartbroek seem to be becoming increasingly crime-ridden.
Things like drug trafficking, prostitution, burglaries, and criminal gangs are youths appear to be deeply ingrained in these areas. These problems also seem to be difficult to solve. That’s according to a partially confidential report commissioned by the municipality.
The full report, including the confidential pages, was accidentally published on the council’s website. It remained there for some time. Studio040 was able to download it.
Gildebuurt and Hemelrijken
Oud-Woensel, particularly Hemelrijken and Gildebuurt, is not a great area in which to live. Drug dealers, prostitutes, overcrowding, and late-night noise is rife there. The report states that these disturbances have increased over the past two years.
There’s a lot of illegal activity in these neighbourhoods. It’s reported that there are not only drug houses and dealers and illegal nitrous oxide shops. There are also ‘shady shops, pubs, and restaurants’. These are a ‘direct physical threat and nuisances’.
The municipality is concerned about empty shops and speeding traffic too. It’s a known fact that many businesses in the area are engaged in criminal activities.
“Vaartbroek may not feel any less safe than most of Eindhoven. However, crime is a major problem in that area,” the report reads. It mainly concerns drug-related crime and violence, home burglaries and confused people. Some youngsters cause nuisance and engage in illegal activities.
Over the years, the council has seen different criminal networks come into and leave this neighbourhood. “Younger brothers and sisters are recruited as foot soldiers,” says the report.
“Children see their parents, brothers, cousins, and neighbours, making quick money doing crime. They’re then easily tempted to join in. That’s due to a lack of good alternatives.”
Since mid-2019, the municipality has had their eye on a criminal youth group of about 20 members in Vaartbroek. “They don’t seem to cause too much of a nuisance. But that’s mainly because people are unwilling to report it.”
“A lot of their criminal activities don’t happen in public either,” the report says. This group has direct links with the Oud-Woensel neighbourhood. They intimidate not only residents and business owners. Visitors to the areas also feel unsafe.
The council and police are struggling to get this group under control. “We have a good idea of who’s involved. They’re regularly nabbed for minor offences.”
“We are, however, more concerned with the leaders,” the report states. “They’re often in the background and elusive.”
The above information is contained in confidential pages of a report on tackling subversive crime. The municipality isn’t willing to further delve into these pages. It did, however, presents the following explanation of the plan to tackle disruptive crime to Studio040:
“The subsidy for the BOTOC (Broad Offensive Against Organised Disruptive Crime) prevention approach is spent on preventive projects. The municipality of Eindhoven already has some of these in the Social Domain. But there are several new projects too.”
“These projects intend to strengthen young people’s resistance [against criminality – ed]. But, but also that of the neighbourhood, like parents and schools. The projects are on individual, group and environmental levels.”
“Tailor-made solutions are important here. Setting up a project isn’t a goal in itself. We look at what is needed at a district, group, and individual level. This is in line with existing structures and partnerships.”
“This is a temporary cash injection. So, we’ve chosen to temporarily intensify existing projects or those that have a preventive effect”.
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This story was made possible in part by the Stimuleringsfonds voor de Journalistiek (Journalistic Stimulation Fund). Dtv, Omroep Venlo, Studio040, and WOS Media work together on local investigative journalism.
Editor: Melinda Walraven