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Amsterdam mayor Job Cohen wants police to document criminal youths in Diamond neighborhood

DutchAmsterdam.nl — Amsterdam mayor Job Cohen wants the city’s police department to document which youths in the Diamantbuurt (Diamond neighborhood) are involved in crime or cause a public nuisance.

Meanwhile police must combat crime in the neighborhood with all legal measures.

“The situation in the Diamond neighborhood has the highest priority,” Cohen spokesperson Bartho Boer told local newspaper Het Parool.

The Diamond neighborhood is a small, working class district in the Oud Zuid (Old South) borough of Amsterdam. The neighborhood is home to a number of problem families, mostly of Moroccan descend.

Amsterdam newspaper Het Parool in recent days has published a series of reports documenting that the neighborhood’s former street hooligans and petty criminals have evolved into a group of hardcore criminal youths. They are reportedly involved in ever worsening crimes, including armed robberies, break-ins and violence throughout the country. Meanwhile their younger siblings are following in their footsteps — committing petty theft, as well as harassing- and terrorizing people.

Police commissioner Leen Schaap, chief of police for the Old South borough, says there are also indications the youths are involved in drugs trade.

Aid organizations and various community programs have done a lot of good in the neighborhood, but according to him many of the problem families refuse help.

“Of the eightien families that cause the most problem, about ten absolutely reject any aid provided,” Schaap says. “I’m talking only about those families the police and aid organizations have selected for a special approach; not those with adults children.”

According to Schaap some parents actually enter the picture as co-defendants since they facilitate their sons in their criminal enterprises.

Egbert de Vries, chairman of the Oud Zuid borough, says that in some cases people refuse help due to cultural differences, not wanting to be seen as failed parents. Reportedly there are also some parents who are held hostage in their own homes by their adult sons.

Under current law, problem families can not be forced to accept social aid.

The so-called ‘triangle’ — consisting of mayor Cohen, chief public prosecutor Herman Bolhaar, and chief of police Bernard Welton — yesterday discussed the neighborhood’s problems.

The mayor wants the police to provide with with a list of names, indicating which crimes or public nuisances each person is involved with. The report will also include information about the families that turn down help, along with the reasons for their refusals.

Cohen will use the report, which he expects to be ready by the end of this month, to determine which course of action to take with each of the individuals on the list.

Last updated CET (Central European Time)

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