Wednesday, 09 September 2020
The Brussels Midi railway station was the most vandalised train station across Belgium in 2019, according to official figures by Federal Mobility Minister François Bellot.
The station, which is located in the Brussels’ municipality of Saint-Gilles, saw a total of 237 incidents of vandalism and graffiti in 2019.
Three other Brussels’ train stations also landed in the country’s top 10, as Brussels-North ranked fourth with 105 reports, Schaerbeek station was in seventh place with 91 acts of vandalism, and Brussels-Central was tenth with 71 reports, the data shows.
“In 2019, we removed 140,000 square metres of graffiti from our trains and our stations across the country, which cost a total of €5 million,” SNCB spokesperson Dimitri Temmerman told The Brussels Times.
“The reputation of Brussels is dwindling. City and Region must make maximum use of their powers to prevent these disturbances,” said Vlaams Belang Brussels chairman Bob de Brabandere, who requested the figures. According to him, more police, as well as cameras and security personnel, are necessary.
SNCB manages 10,000 security cameras across the country, which are being monitored 24/7. “The footage is also directly available to the federal police,” Temmerman said. “Additionally, railway police Securail also patrols regularly to keep an eye out.”
As the Brussels’ stations see the highest numbers of passengers per day, however, it is not strange that this is also where the most vandalism occurs, according to Belgian railway company SNCB.
Other stations in the list are Charleroi-Zuid (199 reports), Kortrijk (107), Gent-Sint-Pieters (100), Namur (94), Antwerp-Central (82) and Liege-Guillemins (79).
Additionally, the total number of incidents across the country has also risen by just under 10%, from 1,041 cases in 2018 to 1,137 last year. On 1 June 2020, the number of reported incidents this year stood at 455.
However, not all reports of vandalism are subject to an administrative procedure, according to Bellot, and only the most serious offences are prosecuted by the Public Prosecutor.
The Brussels Times