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Central Tallinn parks to get security patrols after spate of youth crime

Kanuti Gardens in central Tallinn, scene of some of the recent bouts of youth violence, is to get staffed patrols.
Kanuti Gardens in central Tallinn, scene of some of the recent bouts of youth violence, is to get staffed patrols. Source:

Parks in central Tallinn are to get round-the-clock surveillance, Tallinn City Government has announced. The move comes in response to reported growing levels of youth violence.

City centre district elder Vladimir Svet (Centre) says that the security guards, who are due to start work in the Kanuti Gardens, between the Old Town and the ferry harbour district, as early as Tuesday according to the City Council's press department, are only a temporary measure.

''The security patrols in Kanuti Gardens are to last through the night and, if necessary, this will be extended to other parks where similar problems have been endemic,'' said Mr. Svet, who added that the measure will be carried out initially for ten days by a private security company and that other options, such as patrols by the Tallinn Municipal Police (MuPo) would not be considered.

Further measures

Furthermore a round table discussion is to take place on Thursday at the invitation of the Ministry of Justice, which will include prosecutors, Police and Border Guard (PPA) personnel and child protection representatives, to discuss further how to effectively combat the issue.

Tallinn Mayor Taavi Aas (Centre) added that more effective coordination between state and city authorities is needed to counteract the problem, which has been rising in the past year, he says.

North Tallinn prefecture PPA chief Kristian Jaani said on Monday that whilst youth crime in general has not been on the increase, there are about 20 ringleaders around whom other young people congregate in the city centre areas.

''So far as statistics go there is nothing that young people have been doing here which is particularly new,'' Mr. Jaani went on.

''However there has been a concentration of serious incidents within a short space of time, and what had been problem children have become criminals and committed criminal activities,'' he continued, stating that some of the culprits, now 16-17 years old, had been known to police since they were around 10 years old.

Six of these have been isolated from the pack after being arrested, after the PPA received court approval to do so, given the severity of their crimes.

However, Mr. Jaani noted, this was something of a quick fix, but not an ineffective one; ''where there are no ringleaders, there are no sidekicks,'' he added.

Mr. Jaani also appeared on Tuesday's edition of ETV current affairs show Ringvaade Suvel speaking about the problem, an episode which included smartphone-captured footage of violent confrontations and bullying.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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