After ten years, the Belgian federal police has again organized a so-called national security monitor.
Three out of the five most essential hindrances for Belgians are traffic related. Number one is speeding (67%), three and four are (equally placed at 44%) aggression in traffic and annoying parking habits.
168.206 Belgians have been questioned all over the country. They had to fill in a long questionnaire related to security problems in their neighborhood and their feelings of insecurity.
Apart from the mentioned traffic-related problems, the average Belgian is also annoyed by abandoned litter and illegal dumping (50%). Number five is breaking into homes (39%).
Undoubtedly, most irritating for the Belgians are the speed devils. 67% of the questioned people are complaining about them. Professor Wim Hardyns, a criminologist at the Ghent University, did yearly comparable surveys.
“Always the same worries came at the forefront, with one exception: during the period of the Brussels attacks, terrorism was number one.”
“The reason for this top 5,” adds Hardyns, is that those problems are visible. Much more than cybercrime or fraud. People get confronted with it daily.”
Curing the problem
“Detect problems is one thing, curing them another,” says Hardyns. “When you clear abandoned or illegally dumped litter, the streets are clean again, but the offenders aren’t punished.
We have to follow the example of Switzerland or the Scandinavian countries. They have severe penalties, we have these tools too, the so-called GAS fines.”
More police in the streets
Sarah Frederickx, a spokeswoman of the federal police, points to another item in the monitor. People want “more blue uniforms on the streets,” a physical presence of police officers. Only 43% of the respondents is happy with the actual police presence in the streets.
“There is certainly a link,” says Frederickx. People will be far less encouraged to speed, litter, aggressive driving, or illegal parking when the police are patrolling in the neighborhood.”
“The monitor is also helpful on a local level,” concludes Frederickx. “In the monitor, there is also a lot of local info. We need an adapted national security plan, but on a local level, policies can be steered too.”