Last month we reported on the violence of “youths” in the culturally enriched suburb Vollsmose of the Danish city Odense. The “youths” were enraged because one of their number had a car accident while fleeing from the police, and fired at the police with automatic weapons to show their displeasure.
It was just a matter of time
Kim Thyssen was one of the two police officers who were shot at in Vollsmose this August. He has been working in the troubled neighborhood for ten years, and is not surprised about the fact that police officers are now fired at. The area is dominated by a core of ruthless criminals who hate the police.
by Karina Bjørnholdt
(Officer) Kim Thyssen knows what he is talking about. Throughout the last 15 years he has been working to prevent crime among youths with an ethnic background other than Danish. First as an officer in a special police unit, but since 2004 he has been based in Vollsmose, with Bøgeparken as his primary district. Kim Thyssen has no illusions and no prejudices — he knows the reality of the situation.
That is also the reason he was not particularly surprised, disappointed, or shocked when he was shot at the night before the 14th of August, as the rage boiled over in Bøgeparken.
Many of the difficult youths of Bøgeparken are like ticking bombs, and it was only a matter of time, and of who would light the first match — the policeman says
Hard to get to
Kim Thyssen on earlier occasions had experienced stones and bottles being thrown at him, but he had never been shot.
But the frustration has been heating up among the youths in the last two-three months.
“We also had the back window of our patrol-car smashed just recently for instance. They have generally been hostile towards the police, and were sort of waiting around for an opportunity.”
There is a group of hard-core criminals in Bøgeparken, and Kim Thyssen fears that things are moving in the wrong direction. He also states that people working for the municipality are having a hard time. Some of them have taken a leave from their job simply in order to be safe from the troublemakers.
– – – – – – – – –
Kim Thyssen states that Bøgeparken is mainly inhabited by Arabs, and a group of stateless Palestinians are in control of crime in the neighborhood. Many of the youths the local police are in contact with are also very unintelligent. School-psychologists in the area have even diagnosed some of them as being on “the level of mental retardation” as it is called in technical terms.
Experts in the Municipality of Odense, interviewed by DANSK POLITI [the independent professional paper of the Danish Police in which the article appeared] agree that lack of caring and stimulation and the effects of marriage between cousins are causing the low intelligence and consequently the reason why they easily end up committing crimes. They look up to their older friends and gain recognition by committing criminal acts.
“These youths have a poor vocabulary, are impulse-guided, and are not oriented towards the consequences of their actions. That is why they are so hard to get to, on a personal level. They simply don’t have the tools needed to engage in a discussion. Apart from that many of them are extremely ‘fond of fire.’ This summer we registered over 100 arsons behind Bøgeparken,” Kim Thyssen says.
The experienced police officer further reports that Bøgeparken houses many so called “wanna-bes” often no more than 8 to 10 years of age. These are the ones yelling “f***ing police” at the police authority. Then there are the older brothers who actually challenge the police by throwing rocks and bottles. Occasionally when things get out of hand even the fathers of the families — 30-35 years of age — encourage the young ones in their attacks on the police.
Kim Thyssen estimates that the group of stateless Palestinians in Bøgeparken consists of around 40 persons. But they are quickly able to call in more people, and suddenly you have a gathering of around 100 difficult youths and grown-ups.
“They carry an insatiable hate towards the authorities. And there is also a fair amount of ‘reverse racism’ out there, which is becoming more and more explicit in recent years. The Danes have a very rough time in Bøgeparken. Their children can’t play in the sandbox, it is the cars belonging to the Danes that are set on fire, and it is their apartments which are burglarized. The Danes are shot at with air rifles and mugged on the street.
Now, one might think that the shooting has made Kim Thyssen angry or disappointed. He knows the inhabitants of Bøgeparken and they know him, and still the shots were fired. But that is not how Kim Thyssen views the matter.
“There are three things needed to be a good police officer in Vollsmose. You need a clear head, a warm heart and a cold a** [“cold a**” is slang for ‘not giving a damn’]. The people often come up close to you, and you suddenly find yourself surrounded by some 30-40 people curious about what you are doing. That is the time where you need to remind yourself that, although we do have some people we know well, we have no friends out here. We are often called racists, but that is what they call anyone enforcing the law,” Kim Thyssen says.
“But I still like my job, and the shooting is not going to change that.”
For a complete listing of previous enrichment news, see The Cultural Enrichment Archives.