Czech Republic: Residents of Plzeň complaining about members of the Romani minority
In Plzeň complaints regarding coexistence are being registered about some members of the Romani minority. The Czech News Agency says the complaints concern the courtyard inside Plachého and Korandova streets, which is the town's only socially excluded locality.
Authorities and police have already responded to the problems and are planning measures to address them. Those include installing a CCTV system, increased regular monitoring of the neighborhood, and considering whether to establish the position of a Romani concierge in each problematic building.
"Complaints and dissatisfaction are on the increase, and the situation in České Budějovice definitely is influencing that. The problem escalated there, the media started taking an interest in it, and people elsewhere are starting to draw attention to the situation in their own neighborhoods," said Ladislav Plochý, manager of the Safe Town (Bezpečné město) project, which receives comments and complaints from people online.
According to locals, the number of Romani people who are drunk or high on drugs is rising in the area, mainly in the evening and at night. People are drawing attention to incidents such as brawls, disorder, noise, passers-by being bothered, and other scenes.
"Totaled cars are being taken apart in one corner of the interior courtyard of building no. 40 every day," people are complaining. Most of the incidents concern four buildings on Plachého Street (nos. 42 - 48) and two on Korandova Street.
"Most of the tenants there are Romani," Plochý said of the neighborhood. According to municipal police officer David Třeštík, who patrols the area, the problem is a social one.
"The municipal police alone do not have enough capacity to fully resolve this," Třeštík said. That is why representatives of the Municipal Security Department, the Housing Department, the municipal and state police, and those who administer municipally-owned apartment buildings visited the site together on Tuesday.
"They walked around, spoke with the residents, and pointed out the complaints to them. The residents told us that drug addicts get in by kicking in the doors to the empty apartments the town has there, they get into the attic spaces, etc.," Plochý said.
Several people were ejected from the area for spending the night in the attics or corridors of the buildings and one person turned out to be wanted by police. Similar monitoring of the scene there will continue.
"We don't want to underestimate anything, we don't want to become like other towns, so we have designed some immediate measures," Plochý said. Apartment administrators are repairing destroyed fixtures, securing the empty apartments, and arranging for the mess out in front of one building to be cleared away.
Police have received a list of the registered tenants and empty apartments and will monitor the housing more frequently. The Housing Department is also designing a new system for awarding apartments and a concierge selected directly from among the ethnic Romani residents should help as well.
The concierge would be posted to a certain building entrance and would be paid. The Housing Department also reached out to those who had sent complaints asking them to come to a public discussion about the matter, and there are plans to set up a CCTV system in the courtyard.
These solutions, however, are complicated by the fact that in June Plzeň let go the municipal coordinator of the Safe Town project, saying the position was superfluous. The coordinator was supposed to have taken care of precisely this agenda, i.e., addressing people's input, responding to it, coordinating the procedures undertaken by various entities and moving around in the field.
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