Violence in the Taunus area

Oberursel's town hallSeveral weeks ago a visitor to the town hall (Rathaus) in Oberursel attacked the people working there with a knife.  Only a day later I read that it was believed an attack  might take place at a grammar school in Frankfurt.

It’s not that these things don’t happen in Germany, but these two were too close for comfort – I even had a meeting the very next day at the town hall to attend!

It made me wonder if this sort of violence was on the increase.  Were these one-off attacks or threats?  I often read the local news and even the police press releases and can’t remember anything on quite this scale for a long time.

And yes, it worries me.  Firstly it worries me that things may have to change in our town.  Our town hall is a very open place with a relatively low level of security.  The receptionist may sit behind a glass screen, but they do not have to let you into the building as is the case in many other official places.

There are no scanners like there are at some courts, no controlled entry points or turnstiles like at the banks’ headquarters in Frankfurt, and nothing like the searches at the British Consulate!

But now there are discussions taking place on what may have to change, and it is going to be a fine balance between security and keeping the place operational.  After all, if everyone had to go through a scanner or deposit their ID card at reception (which would be impractical, because you need it for the more common offices inside the building) it would slow the process of registering a new address or even just visiting the lost property office considerably.

On the other hand, it worries me that I could just have easily been in the town hall a day earlier and caught up in it all.

Except that tightening the security in public buildings only helps prevent things happening there.  Just as I was preparing this post, news came in that a public bus had been hijacked at gunpoint in Kronberg and forced to drive towards Wiesbaden, although the hijacker eventually left the vehicle and stole a car near Eppstein.

I don’t think that any amount of scanning is going to stop something like that happening, and it doesn’t have to be a bus either.  I remember a report quite a few years ago about someone fleeing a robbery and getting into the U-Bahn, only for the driver to stop the train mid-way between the stations to wait for the police to arrive.  The robber was trapped in one of the carriages with the passengers.

So it is not unthinkable to be caught up in something like this in Oberursel as an innocent bystander – and that’s not something I really like to think about.


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About Graham

Graham Tappenden is a British ex-pat who first came to Germany as a placement student in 1993, returning in 1995 to live there permanently. He has been writing for since 2006. When not writing blog posts or freelancing for the Oberurseler Woche and other publications he works as a self-employed IT consultant solving computer problems and designing websites. In 2016 he gained German citizenship.

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