Authorities in Berlin gathered on 26 November to discuss a 5-point plan to curb Arab gangs rampant in the German capital, Die Welt reported. First of all, a Coordination Office on Organized Crime will be established to ensure flawless and timely cooperation between various offices, agencies and departments in the city. Apart from police and tax investigators, immigration offices and even job centres will participate in the new joint venture.
Secondly, Berlin authorities are planning to strengthen control over trade and financial operations to prevent money laundering, thus depriving Arab gangs of income. Moreover, they are to clamp down hard against all criminal assets and property to ensure its confiscation.
Participants of the meeting also agreed to adopt a 'zero tolerance policy' towards even minor crimes committed by gang members. Authorities have vowed to vigorously prosecute not only those involved in drug trafficking, burglary or robbery, but even illegal parking or street racing.
At the same time, Berlin authorities plan on preventing Arab gangs from recruiting new members and discouraging youth from choosing criminal careers. They also hope to convince some of the active gang members to abandon their clans, offering lucrative ways out.
Arab gangs, consisting of migrants coming from all over the Middle East, began their activities in Berlin in the 1970s and despite police efforts, continue to the present day. Their members are involved in an array of criminal activities, including racketeering, drug and human trafficking, extortion, money laundering, fraud, prostitution, and theft. They exist mostly as secluded groups in several areas of Berlin, such as Neukölln, Schöneberg, Kreuzberg and Mitte.
On 20 December, 2014, Arab gang members raided a Tiffany shop in the Kaufhaus des Westens shopping centre, allegedly stealing 6-figures worth of jewellery and hurting 15 people with tear gas. The perpetrators were later arrested and jailed.