Safety inMaastricht

Conclusions, economic activity, and safety

Maastricht is a city of city of experiences and contacts, a city that is visited yearly by millions from the Netherlands and abroad. Maastricht, with its growing university, is increasingly evolving into a bustling student city that offers excellent opportunities for work, study, and recreation. This is also resulting in Maastricht receiving a continually increasing number of applications for smaller and large-scale events. Every event requires customization with respect to the location, number of visitors, and the necessary safety and other measures.

Maastricht’s ambition is to improve the facilitation of this increasing number of events. The number of event locations will need to be increased and their distribution across the city will need to be given careful consideration. The future event locations will be specified in documents including the new Omgevingsvisie Maastricht (environmental vision of Maastricht). An increased number of events not only requires their distribution over more locations but also requires more capacity and resources for the measures that need to be taken. For this reason, the multi-year plan needs to anticipate the consequences of this dispersion of and growth in the number of events. Specific attention will need to be given to the large scale of events and the resultant pressure that this imposes on the police capacity, as well as to the new threat of terrorism that requires the implementation of new measures that result in extra costs. Other important points requiring attention with events relate to possible demonstrations/actions elicited by the event, such as Sinterklaas (Saint Nicholas) celebrations and football matches. Account also needs to be taken of safety issues relating to illegal cultural events such as skatecafé and dance party events.

Maastricht, in view of its large number of places of entertainment, needs a safe entertainment area. The provision of drugs and alcohol to young people is an important theme within this context. Students are also a large target group in Maastricht’s nightlife.

A ‘Consent Matters’ student interest group has picked up signals that students are concerned about their safety in Maastricht’s public spaces and nightlife. Consent Matters has the impression that intimidation is very frequent on Maastricht’s streets and that this is experienced as very threatening. In October 2017, this resulted in the municipal council passing a resolution providing for the formulation of a policy, in cooperation with a number of partners and under the Municipality’s direction, on undesirable behaviour including sexual harassment. This extended to a request to study whether Maastricht, in line with cities such as Amsterdam and Rotterdam, could make this a punishable offence. Maastricht University is conducting a short qualitative study into the scope of the problem amongst the city’s students. This study will be completed during the course of 2018, and the results will be assessed to determine which supplementary measures will be needed in combating sexual harassment.

Specific attention needs to be given to the risks of subversive criminality in shopping areas. Alongside the decline in categories of shops and frequent changes in shop owners, specific sectors are particularly vulnerable to criminal influences. Subversive criminality infiltrates, in particular, socially weaker neighbourhoods and numerous types of smaller shops (such as callshops, tanning salons, and hairdressers). Various police studies have revealed that the car hire sector is at great risk for mala fide practices, such as renting out cars to drug criminals and accepting large amounts of cash. Entrepreneurs need to be actively involved in measures to prevent subversive and other forms of crime.