A major police raid on one of Brussels’ main train stations has failed to prevent criminal activity there, witnesses working and living near the facility have claimed.
Officers are said to have arrested 56 people during the operation on August 26, many of whom were migrants, in an attempt to curb anti-social behaviour at the Brussels-Midi train station.
According to a report by state broadcaster VRT, locals believe the raid has had little to no real effect, with thefts and public urination returning to the station only moments after law enforcement officers left.
“Two minutes after the end of the police operation, there was already the first theft,” a security guard who works at the station said.
“Saturday evening and Sunday it seemed to be going a bit better, but since today [August 28] we see that the weather is going in the wrong direction,” the worker lamented.
Reporters described seeing puddles of urine throughout the train station, as well as various individuals believed to be under the influence of drugs.
A sharp rise in crime around the Brussels-Midi train station has gained public attention in Belgium after a video of a family left stranded there for a night went viral. https://t.co/ZyAnOzm0hI
— Brussels Signal (@brusselssignal) July 28, 2023
Government officials are now regularly being criticised over the state of the train station, with Brussels law enforcement officers increasingly struggling to maintain order in that region of the city.
Saturday’s police operation does not appear to have improved sentiments, with opposition group Vlaams Belang lambasting the show of force as doing nothing to improve the situation.
In a statement given to Brussels Signal, party senator Bob De Brabandere described the move as being a “drop in the ocean” compared to the security challenges in the city.
He added that attempts to tackle crime in the city will remain “purely symbolic” until authorities admit the issues have been enflamed by Belgium’s “asylum and migration crisis”.
Another official accused the Belgian Government of trying to implement a cover-up by only allowing a small committee debate on the issue, which is reportedly due to take place in three weeks’ time.
“With a record number of shootings … drug use in public, street prostitution, robberies, fights, squats, the security situation is not five minutes to midnight, but five minutes past it,” Brussels MP Dominiek Lootens-Stael said.
“To now muffle the debate about this in a committee meeting, three weeks after the facts, is a slap in the face for every Brussels’ resident.”
Drug-related crime is spreading in the Belgian capital, with Brussels’ train stations particularly hard hit. https://t.co/ZknoVtvWQ8
— Brussels Signal (@brusselssignal) August 7, 2023