DutchAmsterdam.nl — It is impossible to determine whether Amsterdam’s efforts to reduce the number of window brothels, coffeeshops and call shops in the city’s Red Light District lead to less crime.
It is also not possible to measure whether Amsterdam’s overall approach to clean up the area will lead to the desired result.
The municipality’s plans to meet the objectives of the project currently are not sufficiently developed.
These are the conclusions of the Netherlands Court of Audit (Algemene Rekenkamer) in a report made public today.
Amsterdam aims to spruce up its historic city center
In 2007 Amsterdam launched Coalition Project 1012, which Alderman for Finance Lodewijk Asscher described as a “large-scale and drastic change in function of the entrance to the capital city.”
Named for the postal code for downtown Amsterdam the project was for close co-operation between private enterprise, police, the tax authorities and the municipality in order to “spruce up” the city’s “dismal” red carpet.
Some of the most drastic aspects of the project address the Red Light District.
When the project was introduced Mr. Asscher said: “The days that riff-raff have been allowed to control the most beautiful section of the city’s historic centre are over.”
Among other things the project calls for a reduction in the number of so-called ‘crimogeen‘ enterprises in the area. ‘Criminogeen’ means ‘promotion or advancement of — or susceptibility to — criminality.’
The municipality said it wanted to see fewer window brothels, coffeeshops and gambling halls — businesses the city considers susceptible to ‘crimogeen’ influences.
The Court of Audit reports says that interestingly the number of these types of businesses has actually increased from 444 in 2007 to 491 at present.
Goals not clear enough
The report also states that the city of Amsterdam does not have a clear view of the cost involved in its approach to the Red Light District clean up project.
Among other things possible contingency expenses have not been taken into account.
The Court of Audit says the project must set out clearer objectives by which the impact of the clean-up efforts can be measured.
In addition the City Council should be given more information by which it can get a better insight into the progress made by Project 1012.
Red Light District cleanup ‘certainly is successful’
A spokesperson for Mr. Asscher says another report shows that the project’s approach to the Red Light District ‘certainly is successfull” in fighting organized crime.
Asscher says that with the ‘thorough investigation’ and the recommendations of the Court in hand he wants to continue working “to fight crime and human trafficking in the red light district ‘.
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Amsterdam wants to transform Red Light District sooner rather than later
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