The behaviour of criminals in center Sandholm frightens asylum seekers
A series of attacks and theft have left some of the inhabitants in Center Sandholm fearing for their safety and property. And the fear of reprisals complicates investigation, as center staff is unable to take action without further information from the victims.
In November three young asylum seekers entered a room of a handicapped refugee at 3 am in the morning to steal from him. When he woke up, they attacked him. Luckily, his next door neighbor had heard the commotion, and came to his help. The attacked man is handicapped, and cannot defend himself. This is the second attack he has suffered while living in Center Sandholm.
Saved by neighbor
New Times met the neighbor and saviour of the handicapped man. “ I was sleeping when i heard cries coming from the room of my neighbor,” he said. “Then I ran to his secour, and there, I saw that he was he was assaulted by three people while he was in bed. As soon as they saw me enter the room to help him, they attacked me, so I had to defend myself vigorously to make them flee.”
The youngsters later mounted a punitive expedition to take revenge on the handicappeds´neighbor who rescued him and saved him from them.
That same night at midnight, one young aggressor was reported to have attacked another refugee to take his cigarettes by force. In another incident one week later a refugee was robbed of both money and valuables, when some people attacked him in his room at 1 am. The refugee was sleeping when he heard knocking on the door, and as he opened it his attackers jumped on him to steal while hitting him.
Fear of reprisals
Attacks and theft like this has been reoccurring over the past year. New Times has talked to the authorities of Center Sandholm, but Center Sandholm authorities say they are unable to take action, because they need information about the criminal people in order to know who are the suspects. But as the victims of the aggressions fear reprisals, they deny to contact Red Cross or the Police with the important information.
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A police officer from Center Sandholm says that the police take immediate action when they hear about a crime. “We take crimes like these very serious. But we are unable to take action unless the criminal acts are being reported”, he says.
The Center Sandholm leader, Michael Ehrenfels from the Danish Red Cross, also stresses the importance of reporting crimes. “It is my impression that these incidents are rare in Sandholm, and we always recommend asylum seekers who experience such incidents to reach out to us. As soon as we are made aware of a crime we contact the police who have proper experience in dealing with these matters”, he says.
The staff at Center Sandholm has had an increased focus on reestablishing the safety in the building that has been suffering from the attacks of a criminal group that is no longer there.
“We are aiming at being attentive so that we can provide support for our residents – especially the vulnerable”, Michael Ehrenfels says.