Increase in drug related shootings in Brussels
Since the beginning of this year, there have been 22 shootings in Brussels. These are often linked to drugs. This was confirmed by the public prosecutor's office and the Brussels police during a press conference, following various shootings and other acts of violence that have taken place in Brussels in recent months.
Between 1 January and 22 June this year, a total of 22 shootings took place in Brussels. One of these resulted in a fatality, fourteen with one wounded, one with two wounded and six without injuries. Some of these shootings involved street gangs, while others were local incidents. In some cases a link can be made with Sky ECC and in one case there is a link with the Albanian mafia.
"They are not situated in the same context, it is not one criminal organisation that is behind all the incidents. It is about different individual facts and clusters. The motives and circumstances are diverse. Sometimes it is about street dealers and their territory conflict, sometimes it is about settlements and sometimes the context is not clear," says Tim De Wolf, public prosecutor of Brussels.
The authorities observe that most shooting incidents lead to the drug scene. It is also noticeable that the victims are reluctant to cooperate, which complicates the investigation.
"They know very well in what context the events took place, but they do not want to give information because of their involvement in the drug world," says De Wolf.
The perpetrators are both minors and adults. According to the police, these perpetrators can be divided into three large groups: those involved in international drug crime on the one hand, and city gangs and even more local street dealers with their territorial struggles on the other.
Since last September, there has been an increase in violent acts involving firearms, according to the police. Mainly on the territory of the local police zones of Brussels-West, Brussels-Capital-Elsene and Brussels-South.
"Although the number of acts is rightly alarming, all procedures are in place. There is a plan for dealing with firearms, there is a coordinated approach to drug trafficking," De Wolf emphasises.
The various shooting incidents are considered a priority, both by the public prosecutor's office and by the police districts involved. "The cooperation between the different police services and the public prosecutor is very high," Jurgen De Landsheer, chief of police of the police zone Brussels-South, told VRT NWS. "We want citizens to feel safe. Tackling nuisance on the streets is therefore important to us. We are already working hard on prevention and confiscating more and more weapons."
© BELGA PHOTO LAURIE DIEFFEMBACQ - Brussels Prosecutor Tim de Wolf pictured during a press conference by the Brussels public prosecutor's office and the police on the various shootings and other acts of violence that have taken place in the capital in recent months, in Brussels, Tuesday 28 June 2022.