Two hostile “multi-ethnic groups” have been fighting each other in the Stuttgart region for almost two years. The security authorities have had great successes recently. There are arrests and search warrants. In order to take further action against the groups, the police are now targeting the criminal groups’ environment.

It’s about drug deals, territorial claims, feelings of belonging: almost two years ago, a series of violent acts began in the Stuttgart region, the likes of which had never been seen before. Shots were fired regularly. Two loose associations described by the police as “multi-ethnic groups” fight each other – in extreme cases even with hand grenades, as was the case in the attack on a cemetery in Altbach (Esslingen district) last summer.

Recently, however, things have become a little quieter – this is probably because the security authorities are massively disrupting the groups. One imprisonment follows the next. The Baden-Württemberg State Criminal Police Office (LKA) has now announced 68 arrests, over 180 search warrants executed and 29 firearms seized.

But you don’t want to limit yourself to those who are already heavily involved in the crimes. The police count around 550 people as being associated with the two groups – not all of whom are apparently at the stage where they are completely involved in serious crime.

So “we provide targeted support offers to people, especially those associated with criminal groups, in order to prevent them from slipping into criminal structures,” says LKA spokesman David Fritsch. The aim of so-called preventive and offensive speeches is to make it clear to these people what will happen to them if they do not distance themselves from the deeds and ringleaders.

Now in this environment it is clear that you don’t talk to the police. Especially not when you’re traveling in a group. That’s why around 300 people across the region received visits over the past two weeks, mainly at home. “In some cases we try to get the families on board to increase the pressure and ensure that people close to them can support them,” says Fritsch. Only time will tell whether these speeches have been fruitful and will prevent further slides into crime in the future.

By Jürgen Bock

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A group of young people is said to have attacked two men in Magdeburg in Saxony-Anhalt, one of whom died. The victim died from life-threatening injuries, police said on Wednesday.

The original for this article “In the Stuttgart gang war, police are now using special “mediation tactics”” comes from STUTTGARTER ZEITUNG.