An open drug scene is spreading in Kleinbasel. Violence and fear are increasing among the population. The authorities’ measures do not seem to be having any effect so far.
Because of the drug scene, residents of Matthäusplatz in Kleinbasel hardly dare to go out on the streets at night anymore: “The drug addicts come as soon as it gets dark,” says resident Mark. The atmosphere is then very aggressive and people hardly go out anymore.
Recently, a drug-addicted woman even broke into the basement. “One of us wanted to go to the laundry room and met a junkie there,” he says. The woman injected herself with heroin in the laundry room.
It’s not just children who are afraid, many of whom are no longer allowed to go to the playground alone, complains a dog owner. “I usually go out with the dog after midnight. I don’t dare do that anymore.”
Seek help from the police and victim support
Resident Däni was beaten by two women in the hallway. “I made a report and went to victim support because it just doesn’t work that way anymore.”
The problems have worsened in recent weeks, say many who live in Kleinbasel. That’s why they started a petition. “Arguments and aggression – even between individual dealer gangs – in the middle of our living environment have become commonplace,” they complain.
There is a lack of housing for addicts
Although the problems have become more pronounced, there are not suddenly more drug addicts, says Regine Steinauer. She heads the addiction department at the canton of Basel-Stadt. “The number of addicts who openly consume drugs on the pitch is particularly problematic.” In the past, many addicts used drugs in their homes, but now this is increasingly done in public.
Steinauer says she can’t give a definitive answer as to why this is the case. It probably has to do with the warm summer. “In addition, many of these people have unsatisfactory living conditions and therefore consume outside.”
Zurich: drug consumption in containers
In Zurich, residents around the bakery complex are criticizing the fact that a new open drug scene is forming: up to 40 drug addicts are buying, selling and consuming the drug crack in the park. There are also schoolhouses and apartments near the bakery complex.
The Zurich city council does not want to tolerate an open drug scene: It therefore recently decided to place containers on the nearby barracks meadow. Addicts should be able to consume drugs in the containers.
Until October there was already a so-called “contact and contact point”, which is popularly known as “Fixerstübli”. This was housed in a building that was converted.
In Zurich there are now fears that an open drug scene like the one at Platzspitz in the 80s and 90s could emerge at the bakery. At that time, thousands of drug addicts primarily consumed heroin there day and night.
Similar problems at the Dreirosen facility have been an issue for months. The park in the neighboring district is in the immediate vicinity of two school buildings. There is a children’s playground on site.
After several violent crimes – including a ten-year-old girl being threatened with a knife – 16 video cameras were installed. Whether these are of any use is questionable, however.
Dealing continues offensively.
There were fewer violent crimes in the first few weeks of surveillance, says Basel police director Stephanie Eymann. However, the facility remained a drug transshipment point: “The offensive continues to be dealt.”
Dreirosenanlage is known as a “hotspot”.
The authorities have known for a long time that the Dreirosenanlage is a non-location. In the last youth survey in 2021, many said that the Dreirosenanlage was one of the places they consciously avoided. “Young people associate these places with drug and alcohol consumption, unpleasant people, insecurity and violence,” says the analysis report on the youth survey.
The situation on Matthäusplatz should soon calm down. Different departments would get together and develop measures, says Steinauer. They want to get the problem of the open drug scene under control within “a few weeks” and “create relief”. What exactly is planned remains unclear.
Regional Journal Basel, September 21, 2023, 5:30 p.m.; kenc;müla