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Molenbeek calls for more police as drug dealing and shootings increase

BRUSSELS, BELGIUM: Illustration picture shows police conducting searches in Molenbeek, Brussels. (BELGA PHOTO THIERRY ROGE)
06:29 21/06/2022

The 12th shooting in just a few months took place in the Brussels municipality of Molenbeek on Monday, Bruzz reports.

Violence continues to increase in the municipality, and elsewhere. According to a spokesperson for Molenbeek's mayor Catherine Moureaux, the West police zone is short of 200 police officers as drug gangs become more organised and the flow of weapons and dirty money contribute to the growing lawlessness.

"Our mayor is working day after day to try to better understand this phenomenon. Our police are also working on this every day," the spokesperson said.

"We have already written three times to interior minister Verlinden to explain that our police and our citizens are in a difficult situation and that she and her colleagues must meet us urgently to discuss this." The municipality received a letter from the minister last week, but she did not answer its questions and demands. "So, we will write to her a fourth time," the spokesperson added.

The municipality wants the standards, which determine how many police officers are needed per zone, to be met. While police zone West is now entitled to 1,050 officers, there should be 1,250, the spokesperson claimed.

Violence continues to increase in the municipality, with another shooting reported on Monday. According to the spokesperson, this is because there are more weapons and money circulating. "Our police have determined that. Whereas in the past it was several million, it is now tens of millions," the spokesperson said. "The nature of the drug world has changed. We can certainly deal with small street dealers, but this goes much further."

Local residents are now having to deal with a new shooting in their streets almost every week. "Our police are on the road every day to reassure the citizens,” the mayor’s spokesperson added. “We pay close attention to the fact that there are no civilian casualties, that is really our biggest fear. The victims of the shootings have so far been associated with the drug world."

Written by Nick Amies