Austrian police will distribute pocket alarms to Viennese women at New Year’s Eve celebrations as a precautionary measure following widespread reports of harassment at similar events in 2015.
The alarms will emit a shrill sound when activated, which will draw police through a crowd at Vienna’s largest New Year’s Eve celebration. The cautionary maneuver comes after leaked German police documents revealed rampant sexual assault by refugees on New Year’s Eve in cities across Germany last year.
German police estimates reveal nearly 1,200 women were assaulted throughout Germany on Dec. 31, 2015, with nearly 2,000 men involved. The majority of the perpetrators were foreigners who had arrived in Germany in the last year, indicating they were likely refugees from war zones like Iraq, Syria, and Afghanistan. Only 120 suspects were apprehended, with four receiving jail time as of July 2016.
“There is a connection between the emergence of this phenomenon and the rapid migration in 2015,” president of the German Federal Criminal Police Office told German media at the time. He lamented, “we have to presume that many of those crimes will never be fully investigated,” due to the high number of attacks, and low grade CCTV footage of the incident.
Berlin’s largest pool was reportedly forced to hire burly security guards in black uniforms in September to stop refugees from touching women inappropriately. One of Berlin’s largest pools is adjacent to two major refugee housing centers, which attract people from countries like Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria.
In some cases, German girls have taken to wearing temporary tattoos at public pools that say “no,” to stop unwanted sexual attention. A leaked German police report from July reveals that “sexual offences are recording a huge increase.”
“In particular, offenses of rape and sexual abuse of children in bathing establishments is significant,” according to the report. The police report identifies the offenders as “for the most part immigrants.”
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