How the individual markets protect their visitors – here is the overview

How the individual markets protect their visitors – here is the overview

How safe are the German markets?


Special security precautions in BerlinTrees protect visitors in NurembergMobile barriers and industrial containers at StriezelmarktNRW secures with water bagsLower Saxony deliberately refrains from concrete blockadesTechnological solutions in Frankfurt am MainSteel instead of concrete in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania

The pictures from Berlin’s Breitscheidplatz are still unforgettable today. On the evening of December 19, 2016, the terrorist Anis Amri races with a truck into the Christmas market in the heart of Berlin. He kills eleven visitors and injures 55 others before his rampage ends. Last night the attack in Strasbourg, which three people did not survive. Why are Christmas markets repeatedly targeted by terrorists?

Strasbourg: Police secure tracks near the Christmas market. (Source: Ye Pingfan / dpa)

Attack on the Strasbourg Christmas market

Photo series with 8 pictures

There are mainly three aspects that make Christmas markets an attractive target for attacks: “There are many people there, there is unhindered access, and they are a symbol of both Christianity and consumer culture,” says Jannis Jost from the Institute for Security Policy. In addition, the large markets are of course located in metropolitan areas – where the perpetrators often live. “They are not looking for the best and greatest target, but rather strike relatively opportunistically in their environment,” says Jost of the attackers.

Berlin’s Breitscheidplatz in December 2016: Assassin Anis Amri races across the square in a truck. He kills eleven people. (Source: Bernd von Jutrczenka / dpa)

Since the bloodbath on Breitscheidplatz, protective measures have been massively expanded. That is obvious. The most obvious sign of this are the heavy bollards that limit many markets. They are supposed to fend off cars and trucks, but cannot prevent events like the one in Strasbourg. That is why the security forces are prepared for a wide variety of scenarios.

Large and heavy concrete bollards, for example, may convey a feeling of security, say experts. In fact, two other precautions are actually most effective: police presence and prevention. One measure is clearly visible, the other barely perceptible. But it is precisely prevention that is the key to more security – not just at the Christmas market.

Experts expect the police to increase the other measure, i.e. the presence, again in the coming days. This is a normal process because after events like those in Strasbourg, the aim is to protect the population from potential imitators.

How the individual markets protect their visitors – here is the overview.

Special security precautions in Berlin

Because of the terrorist threat, the large markets in Berlin in particular are under special security precautions. The whole of Breitscheidplatz on Ku’damm has been cordoned off with heavy barriers made of wire baskets. Pedestrian entrances and other driveways were closed with extra bollards and concrete bases.

The locks are intended to provide protection against terrorist attacks with trucks weighing up to 40 tons. Two years ago an Islamist terrorist carried out an attack with a hijacked truck on Breitscheidplatz. 12 people died and more than 70 were injured.

Trees protect visitors in Nuremberg

Trees instead of concrete bollards is the motto in Nuremberg at the Christkindlesmarkt: The city wants to set up mobile Christmas trees and thus block smaller access routes. “Concrete bollards could only be installed with a great deal of effort, the entire old town would probably be paralyzed for construction,” says the head of the mayor’s and press office, Christine Schüßler.

In any case, the old town is very winding in many places, so that you can hardly drive to the market here at high speeds. Wherever possible, the police again put large vehicles in the way.

Mobile barriers and industrial containers on the Striezelmarkt

In Dresden, the 584th Striezelmarkt attracts visitors to the center. In the market, the police want to ensure security with a mobile police station, employees of a private security service and the public order office are also on duty.

In addition, as in previous years, concrete elements should protect against attacks. New are two mobile barriers at the driveways and inutainers filled with water, foldable containers and mobile vehicle locks.

NRW secures with water bags

The Christmas market season also brings new security concepts to North Rhine-Westphalia. Bochum, for example, blocks the access roads to the city center with dozens of water bags that are even supposed to stop trucks. The certified system replaces the previous sandbags, said a spokesman for Bochum Marketing recently. The city is also putting in locks at three points that vehicles cannot break through. The barriers came from Israel and resembled gates that deform on impact and stop an attack, the spokesman says.

The security concepts of the Christmas markets in Düsseldorf’s old town and the city center increasingly provide for civil and uniformed emergency services and also a defense against danger using concrete blocks.

Lower Saxony deliberately does not use concrete blocks

In Lower Saxony, many Christmas markets are under increased security. In Hanover, a police station is set up in a container on the edge of the Christmas market. The state capital deliberately does not use concrete blockades. The Christmas market is very spacious, which makes blocking all entrances with bollards not very useful, they say.

In Bremen, concrete bollards are also rejected. “They don’t offer absolute protection either,” says police spokesman Nils Matthiesen. In addition, there is not enough space for it. Instead, the police rely on the cooperation with private security guards and mobile locks for emergencies. In Oldenburg, officials also use video cameras for surveillance.

Technological solutions in Frankfurt am Main

Information via app, camera surveillance and the now familiar concrete barriers: organizers and police are trying to ensure the safety of the Frankfurt Christmas market with numerous means. “We have upgraded so much in recent years that more is simply no longer possible,” says the store’s event manager, Kurt Stroscher. As an increase, one can only cancel the Christmas market or let it take place in a barracks yard.

According to police spokeswoman Heike Uhde, the security concept in Hamburg remains “similar in structure to last year”. Uhde justifies this with a largely unchanged assessment of the security situation. As in 2017, individual locations are to be protected with concrete bollards this year as well. The Hamburg police also rely on the “visible presence” of the officers on site.

Steel instead of concrete in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania

At the largest Christmas market in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania in Rostock, according to the organizer, the concrete bollards to ward off trucks were replaced by steel bollards. In addition to a private security service, the police are also on duty.

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Also in Rhineland-Palatinate and Saarland, the safety precautions at the large Christmas markets are again high this year. According to the police, uniformed officers and their civilian colleagues are increasingly on duty. In Trier, there are also patrols with officials from Luxembourg and France on Saturdays. Many cities are putting concrete blocks up again to block access routes. The Mainz Christmas market is under video surveillance for the first time.

That’s enough! The discounter Lidl is reacting to the increase in thefts and break-ins and will gradually install almost 2400 surveillance cameras by the end of the year. The technology magazine “Chip” reports.

In the period from 2012 to 2017, Lidl recorded around 500 thefts and break-ins. Since these not only caused great damage, but also endangered the employees, the subsidiary of the Schwarz Group now wants to take decisive action against it.

The renovation is to start this summer, after all video cameras were removed from the 3200 branches in Germany in 2008. At that time, the spying scandal caused a stir in the media. Lidl had installed hidden cameras in the employees’ premises and thus secretly monitored them. The discounter had to pay a fine of 1.5 million euros for misuse of data. 

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According to a report by “Welt” there are around 26 million shoplifters in Germany every year. The trade recently cost more than two billion euros. In addition, dishonest employees cause further damage amounting to around 300 million euros. The state is also damaged. In 2014 he lost around 450 million euros in VAT.

Cologne (dpa) – With an idiosyncratic advertising campaign, the Bundeswehr has annoyed the car manufacturer Ford and its employees. With the slogan “Job Fort? Do what really counts”, the Bundeswehr alluded to the threat of job cuts at the Cologne car plant.

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The motif was advertised in a local tabloid. A car with the “Job Fort?” Poster drove up and down in front of the Ford plant in Cologne.

The works council of Ford Europe criticized the German armed forces for the campaign, for which the word “Fort” was designed like the logo of the car manufacturer. “That is absolutely inappropriate and disrespectful,” said Martin Hennig, head of the works council at Ford Europe: “The German armed forces exploit fates for advertising purposes in a tasteless way.” Henning told the German Press Agency that a state organization needed that was frightening.

Criticism also came from NRW Prime Minister Armin Laschet (CDU). The campaign was “tasteless and not acceptable,” said Laschet of the “Bild” newspaper and the “Kölner Stadt Anzeiger”. He expects the campaign to be stopped and has also made this clear to Federal Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen (CDU).

From corporate circles it was said on Thursday that Ford had been negotiating with the German armed forces for some time as to whether employees affected by the job cuts could find employment with the force. The car manufacturer did not like the advertising campaign, however: “We tried to prevent this campaign. The Federal Ministry of Defense was in no way ready to discuss this,” said Reiner Ludwig, managing director for human resources at the Ford works. A spokeswoman for the Federal Ministry of Defense confirmed that “there had been talks and references to our action beforehand”.

The spokeswoman emphasized that they did not want to offend anyone: “The Bundeswehr wants to offer people who are affected by downsizing a career perspective in uniform or in our civilian sector.” The campaign ran for one day in Cologne and Wolfsburg. There, in front of the VW factory, delivery vans had the slogan “dare a job for the people”.

A spokesman for the VW group works council also criticized the action. “Advertising can certainly be cheeky, but it shouldn’t be cheeky,” said the spokesman. Volkswagen recently announced that 5,000 to 7,000 jobs could be cut over the next five years.

Regarding the costs of the action, the Federal Ministry of Defense said on dpa request that they were in the “low single-digit thousand range” for the delivery vans. The ministry initially left open how much the advertisements in newspapers and social media cost.

At Ford in Cologne and Saarlouis, 5,400 jobs will soon be cut through severance payments and early retirement. The car manufacturer in Germany – including a small research site in Aachen – has a permanent workforce of 24,000. In addition, there are temporary workers who are also said to be affected by the austerity program.

A good year after the groundbreaking ceremony, the new Institute for Forensic Science and Technology (KTI) of the Saxon Police is ready for shell construction. On Friday, the topping-out crown was placed on the building on the grounds of the State Criminal Police Office, where many special laboratories are being built. The Finance Minister Hartmut Vorjohann (CDU), who was unable to negotiate the budget, thanked everyone involved in a message in view of the construction progress despite Corona.

Interior Minister Roland Wöller (CDU) spoke of the “important milestone in the fight against crime and effective criminal prosecution”. The new building should be ready in 2022. Then all specialists and thus scientific and forensic expertise will be united under one roof for the first time. The Free State is investing around 60 million euros, a good third of which from EU funds.

The KTI is a service provider for the state police. The 120 employees research the background of criminal offenses for investigators, courts and public prosecutors, help to identify and convict offenders and reconstruct offenses. These include natural scientists such as physicists and chemists, experts in new technologies and experts in areas ranging from DNA and writing to poison and explosives. According to the LKA, around 12,000 processes are processed and more than 50,000 traces are evaluated each year.

The construction of the new Gasteig in Munich-Sendling is on schedule despite the corona crisis. Because the shell of the future Philharmonic was completed eight months after the start of construction, the topping-out ceremony was celebrated on Thursday, announced Gasteig München GmbH. The interim location of the cultural center is to be opened in autumn 2021. Then the renovation of the main location in Munich-Haidhausen will begin, which will last until around 2025.

A concert hall with 1,800 seats will be housed in the new Gasteig south of the city center.