Amsterdam coffeeshops help improve security

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The coffeeshops hire employees from a local security firm to patrol the area from 16:00 and 01:30.

Amsterdam -- Two cannabis-selling coffeeshops in the Amsterdam problem district de Baarsjes have launched an initiative to clean up the area and improve security.

Free newspaper De Pers reported coffeeshops Boerenjongens (Country Lads) and Bij (Bee) have hired a local security firm to prevent all kinds of trouble in the area.

Each day between 16:00 and 01:30, two or three employees of local security firm BG Groep keep an eye on a 250-metre radius around the two coffee shops. They address people who park their cars illegally, throw litter on the street or make a lot of noise. Each day they also mop down the doorways of the coffee shops’ neighbours, pick up cigarette butts and empty cans.

“It has improved the quality of life in the neighbourhood; our local police officer has nothing but praise for the initiative,” said a spokesperson for the Amsterdam police.

Even the manager of the local day care centre is enthusiastic: “It’s never been this clean before here in the playground. We have a fingerprint reader for parents which was always being vandalised by problem youths, but there hasn’t been a single incident since the boys from the coffee shop arrived”.

The general improvement in the area is also the result of BG Groep’s special approach to problem youths.

“You can put some Hell’s Angels or bouncers out on the street, but that won’t work. It’s all about approaching boys the right way; it’s about saying hi and having a chat. These days people are afraid to talk to somebody or they go about it the wrong way around. You need to take it easy, like ‘Hey bud, could you please go stand somewhere else, there’s kids here trying to get some sleep’, and then you’ll get a normal answer,” said owner Martin Jansen.

Radio Netherlands / Expatica

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