Youth crime in Groningen has struck again

Photo by wu yi on Unsplash

A 19-year-old was stabbed in Groningen the night from Thursday to Friday and died later of his injuries. Suspected offenders are 17 and 18 years old.

In the night from Thursday to Friday, a young man was found seriously injured in a school yard in Lewenborg, an eastern part of Groningen. First responders tried to reanimate the young man, but it was too late to help. Friday afternoon the police arrested two boys of 17 years and a woman of 18 years from Groningen.

It is not the first time that such young offenders have found their way into the news in Groningen. Less than three weeks before this event, a 26-year old man was threatened and robbed by a group of young offenders in the Paddepoel district in northern Groningen. One of the youngsters threatened the victim with a sharp object and as soon as they got his valuables, they pushed him into the hedge and made a run for it.

„This is giving me anxiety,“ Victoria Fries, a new student who just moved to Paddepoel, says. „The scary part is that you don’t really know what they want. In my old hometown in Brazil, when they assaulted people, it was just to steal and they would not physically hurt you if you gave them your belongings.“

The first time Paddepoel really drew attention to itself was in February this year. As part of his documentary series ‘Danny op Straat’, Danny Ghosen interviewed children, belonging to a gang, in the Paddepoel district of Groningen. Influenced by the violence of drill rap the children, who were about 13 or 14 years old, were carrying big kitchen knives in case they needed to protect themselves from neighboring gangs. Entirely in line with the idea that actions speak louder than words, drill rap is a rap genre that originated in Chicago around 2010 and is defined by dark, nihilistic, and violent lyrics.

Kitchen knives are the preferred weapon of choice as they are relatively easy to acquire for people this young. Most of the time convenience stores like Action or Blokker are selling them without any restrictions. However, the Blokker in the shopping center Paddepoel put locks on their knives. Cheraine Tuinstra, employee of said store, explained that the store has a big issue with theft.

The same store in the city centre of Groningen is not using any locks to protect their knives.

Nonetheless Groningen is facing a problem, and the city knows it. In July, Groningen concluded a Regiodeal with the government, which is providing 30 millions euros for the city to invest in the northern districts like Paddepoel or the Korrewegwijk. Those neighborhoods are known to score low on liveability and safety.

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