Emergency crews in Oslo were called out several times during the night after reports that three cars were found ablaze in the Vestli district of Oslo. Police believe the fires were intentionally set, and won’t rule out connections to earlier youth violence in the same area, and at nearby Stovner.
Police were called out at around 3am Friday and again shortly thereafter. One of the cars found ablaze was parked close to a residence “and there was absolute a danger that the fire could spread,” police operations leader Gjermund Stokkli told state broadcaster NRK. “We view this as very serious.”
The fires came just weeks after police, firefighters and a security guard were pelted with rocks when they responded to other calls in the Vestli and Stovner area. The violence has extended to the Bjørndal area on the city’s southeast side as well.
Officials including the local school’s principal, the nighttime volunteer patrols known as Natteravner and community leaders were calling on parents to get more involved in their teenagers’ whereabouts. “It’s a general problem that many youth are out much too late in the evenings,” Alv Humborstad Sørland, local neighbourhood director, told NRK.
The neighbourhood council in Stovner is also investing in construction of a youth center at a former library that can serve as a place for youth to gather and take part in organized activities. “Many don’t play sports or participate in other free-time pursuits, so they lack purpose,” Lars Norbom, secretary general of Natteravner, told NRK. He thinks frustration lies behind a lot of the recent violence and vandalism. His groups also meets with parents and tries to get them more involved in their children’s lives.