Oslo strikes back at robbery wave

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City government leaders and police in Oslo met on Wednesday, after Justice Minister Anders Anundsen had allocated additional emergency police funding, to crack down on a wave of robberies that’s frightened Oslo residents. They’re promising more police patrols, uniformed civilian patrols and more security around public transportation for starters.

Stian Berger Røsland, leader of the Oslo’s conservative government, and Oslo Police Chief Hans Sverre Sjøvold led an extraordinary meeting at Oslo’s main police station to strike back against the crime wave that’s led to 58 robberies on city streets in November alone.

“I have faith that we will stop this wave of robberies,” Røsland told Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) after the meeting. He and police want Oslo residents to feel safer on the street, especially in the weeks leading up to the Christmas holidays.

The city officials also promised more night busses, uniformed patrols at taxi stands and a research project to explore the motives behind the robberies. Many of the robbers so far, and the suspects arrested, have reportedly been young men of immigrant background.

Measures are also under consideration to put bar and restaurant inspectors in uniform, as another deterrent. “We had some success with that during the wave of rapes we had a few years ago,” Røsland told reporters.

The robbery wave has already been creating headlines for weeks and sparked reaction from Prime Minister Erna Solberg, who recently called on immigrant parents to pay more attention to what their children are doing. Police have also conducted a series of community meetings to raise awareness of the problem.

There’s widespread support for the measures to fight the robbery wave, across political lines. “Thousands of people in this city suddenly feel unsafe,” Carl I Hagen of the Progress Party told NRK. “We’re willing to allocate additional funds if necessary to help people get safely home.”

Guri Melby, the city government politician in charge of transportation, was glad to hear that from someone who’s generally in opposition, saying extra bus capacity can help and the city’s public transit company Ruter has busses ready to put into service.

newsinenglish.no/Nina Berglund