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Brussels crime wave worries Belgian king

Brussels crime wave worries Belgian king

by host
Brussels crime wave worries Belgian king

Belgium’s King Philippe is worried about increasing violence in Brussels as the city struggles to contain a drug-related crime wave, according to Europol chief Catherine De Bolle.

Philippe, along with Queen Mathilde and Belgian Interior Minister Annelies Verlinden, met with De Bolle Tuesday during a visit to Europol, the EU’s law enforcement agency, where they were briefed on the agency’s work to fight organized crime across Europe. During the visit, the king expressed concern over the recent wave of drug-related crime in Brussels, De Bolle told Belgian media.

Verlinden confirmed “that was part of the discussion.”

A wave of violent violent crimes including multiple shootings, which authorities say are linked to drug gangs, have spread through several Brussels neighborhoods over the past months, raising concerns about safety in the EU capital.

On Tuesday, Minister-President of the Brussels-Capital Region Rudi Vervoort and Brussels’ top security official Sophie Lavaux presented a plan to tackle the crime wave during a regional security council meeting.

The plan includes the creation of a task force to identify “hotspots” where drug violence is concentrated. In these hotspots, the city will address security — through collaboration between local police and the public prosecutor’s office — prevention and infrastructure issues.

“This is how we are going to tackle the armed drug trade,” Vervoort said. “This means more police officers and more visibility in the neighborhoods in question. We are also going to pool the available resources and ensure better coordination between the six zones.”

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