Crime and Internal Security: "I Can Understand the Decreased Security" – Panorama

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By Markus BrauerMarkus Brauer (mb) Profile 07. December 2018 – 13:56 Uhr Almost 600,000 Germans currently have the small firearms license. According to police experts, the reason for this is the sinking sense of security of the citizens. We spoke with Steffen Mayer, chairman of the federal German criminal police in Baden-Württemberg.
Looks like a real firearm: An official shows in the armory of the State Office of Criminal Investigation (LKA) in Rampe (Mecklenburg-Vorpommern) a firearm 9mm PAK

Photo: dpa

Stuttgart – The number of small arms licenses in Germany has continued to rise. This firearm license allows the concealed carrying of alarm, irritant and signal weapons. According to a survey by the editorial network Germany in the Ministries of the Interior of the 16 federal states at the end of October 2018 a total of 599 940 small gun licenses were registered. This is an increase of about 130 percent since 2014, when there were still 261 332 such permits.

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"Altogether we live quite safely – also in Baden-Wuerttemberg" We spoke with the state chairman of the Federal German detective officer (BDK) in Baden-Wuerttemberg, Steffen Mayer, about the security situation in the country, the work of the police and the mood in the population.
Mr Mayer, what are you attributing to the rapidly increasing numbers of small firearms licenses – from around 260 000 in 2014 to almost 600 000 now?
This has to do with the decline in the general sense of security in the population. The trigger for this is that one no longer trusts the state to carry out its tasks and to ensure the protection of the citizens. Increasingly, people come up with the idea that you have to arm yourself and protect yourself. Is this feeling covered by reality? I can understand that feeling, even if the statistics, especially the police crime statistics, say something different. Crime in Germany has been declining for years. Of course there is an increase in some areas. But overall we live quite safe – even in Baden-Württemberg. "This also has to do with the refugee crisis" Where does this eroding sense of security come from? It does not take long to think about this and it comes to the idea that this also has to do with the refugee crisis and media coverage. In that sense, I can understand this feeling, but purely factually and objectively this feeling of insecurity should not be so pronounced. But it is. Take, for example, apartment burglaries: Their number has indeed increased. Compared to the 1990s, however, we are still far below the numbers of those days. There have been times when it was more uncertain in Germany than today. "Whatever the issue is police presence" Yet many people are more concerned than ever. What can the police do to improve the sense of security? Even more than before, we need to advise on prevention and make our success more clear. Whatever an issue is presence: normal stripes, police officers who are also visible to the citizen at night in residential areas and are available for questions. That provides security, and not so much heavily armed officials who stand at the Christmas markets. Unfortunately, we also need them, but more as a deterrent and as a clear sign of terrorism. What would mean more police presence on the roads? This would cause the perceived sense of security to rise again. This depends above all on the personnel situation and the focus of police work. Incidents such as the recent gang rape of a young woman in Freiburg increase the sense of insecurity. What are the effects of such spectacular events on the psyche of people in Germany? This can ruin the work of years. These are singular events that shake – and also close to us as police officers. They could have done a good job for ten years. There comes a case, a second and a third like in Freiburg – because they can only explain to people very difficult that they are exceptions. Although in fact they are exceptions. Sometimes chance is merciless.

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