On January 14, a stop-and-search zone was introduced in Copenhagen due to increased gang activity. The stop-and-search zone (visitationzone) was prolonged, due to ongoing conflicts between gangs, to February 12 rather than January 28 – the scheduled expiration date. Now, following three shootings last week, the police have decided to prolong the zone one more time to March 12.
All three of last week's shootings are thought to be gang-related and one of them resulted in the death of 27-year old Zaid Mohammed Al-Kayssi.
Under a stop-and-search zone, police can stop anyone they want and search them for weapons or contraband even without having any reasonable cause. Police say it is to secure the safety of city residents.
“Luckily no innocent people have been killed but it could happen, and that is why we are trying to be as visible as possible in those areas [the gangs] are seen in. But it is difficult to restrain,” chief superintendant Michael Ask told TV2 News.
The major conflicts are between the two gangs Værebros Hårde Kerne (VHK) and Loyal to Familia (LTF). The police assess that despite seeing a decrease in the number of gang members over the past years, the gangs have become more violent.
“We have had some incidents of gang members shooting in all directions,” said Ask.
Police in Copenhagen's Vestegn area – which includes the western suburban councils of Albertslund, Brøndby, Glostrup and Ishøj, among others – also extended a stop-and-search zone until March 12.