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Czech Interior Ministry supports Roma-targeted projects in Kolín

Kolín, 15.4.2015 20:04
The Czech town of Kolín. (PHOTO:  Google Maps)
The Czech town of Kolín. (PHOTO: Google Maps)

The Czech town of Kolín will begin a so-called Romani mentoring project in mid-year to aid Romani people with financial literacy and finding work. The aim is to keep Romani people from falling into the debt trap and intensifying the problems of socially excluded localities.

The town has won a state tender for the program and will also use the money to work with juvenile delinquents and to purchase video cameras. The equipment will be used as needed in high-risk areas and at sports events.

Mayor of Kolín Vít Rakušan (Change for Kolín) announced the projects at a press conference today. "I personally am very glad that the town of Kolín is so active in the area of crime prevention," Cyril Koky, a member of the town's security commission and the Central Bohemian Regional Coordinator for Ethnic Minorities, told news server Romea.cz.

Koky said the town had requested financing for five projects from the Czech Interior Ministry's crime prevention projects. Four of them received support.

The town has received more than CZK 200 000 to purchase video cameras and to work on social issues. "Romani mentoring is work in a designated locality with people so that, for example, they don't fall into the debt trap. That means field work with them to explain, for example, how to navigate the world of finance, what must be paid when. The Romani mentor also helps when people go to register with the Labor Office," Rakušan said.

The mayor also said Romani mentors would supervise Romani children's school attendance. Koky said the Romani mentoring project should primarily make the work of the Probation and Mediation Services more effective with Romani clients.      

"The mentor acts as a kind of mediator between the client and the justice system. The mentor provides practical aid to clients who are serving alternative sentences and advises them on how to meet their sentencing terms," Koky told Romea.cz.

The town will also use the state funding to purchase a video camera. "The camera can be installed so that it is hidden from view in a place with a high crime rate," the mayor said.

Another such camera will be bought by the town from its own budget to monitor a playground near seven primary schools. There are currently 25 CCTV cameras in operation in the town.

The crime rate fell by 25 % in Kolín last year. Among other measures, the town adjusted its system for police work.  

Kolín is now divided into five precincts, each of which is patrolled on weekdays by specific municipal officers responsible for them. In its territorial plan, the town is counting on making sure no new residential hotels are created and has also banned door-to-door sales.

During the next four years, the town is also planning to radically restrict or even completely shut down gaming rooms on its territory. At the start of the year, police in Kolín began testing a computer system that helps predict crime using data about felony and misdemeanor activity that is input into a digital map.  

All of these measures should lead to a further reduction in crime rates. "I very much welcome all of the measures adopted by the municipality and by the Police of the Czech Republic to reduce crime," Koky told news server Romea.cz. 

ČTK, ryz, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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Cyril Koky, Kolín, Kriminalita, Ministertsvo vnitra, Projekty



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