Expatica news

Americanizing Belgium? New Teenage Killing.

5 February 2007

BRUSSELS — “No one, absolutely no one may be allowed to walk around in the street with a knife. We must reconsider our weapon control”, criminologist Brice De Ruyver, security advisor to Guy Verhofstadt, told De Standaard in reaction to last weekend’s violent outbreaks in Oostende and Aalst.

The knife used to attack 18-year-old Bart Bonroy on Saturday in Oostende was already banned by the new law passed last year. The law clearly states that not only the owners of all firearms are obliged to notify the police but the same regulations apply to a whole range of cold steel weapons.

De Ruyver called the attack in Oostende another example of the society becoming “Americanized”.

Prime Minister Verhofstadt appeared to be deeply shocked by the events.

He spoke of a new outbreak of senseless violence that again chose a teenager as its victim, just like in the case of Joe Van Holsbeeck who was murdered last April.

Scientists warn against hasty measures against teenager violence. “We are dealing with exceptional, non-typical cases here, that are blown out of proportion by the media”, criminologist Cathy Brolet of Vrije Universiteit Brussel said.

Her analysis of teenage violence in the years 1995-2000 showed a slight decrease in the number of attacks. More recent data has not yet been analysed.

Bart Bonroy died after he was stabbed in Oostende last weekend. Another young man was heavily wounded in a racist fight in Aalst.

All schools in Oostende began classes with a minute of silence on Monday morning.

[Copyright Expatica News 2007]

Subject: Belgian news