Residents of Zeebrugge, Belgium, have formed civilian patrols amid an increase of crimes committed by migrants, according to reports.
Concerns over lack of policing have pushed local citizens to take matters into their own hands, drawing stern rebukes from authorities despite their apparent substandard performance.
“In recent days, dozens of reports of burglaries by so-called transit migrants in Zeebrugge have surfaced on social media,” SCEPTR reports.
“Zeebrugge has been struggling with the problem and nuisance of transit migrants (illegal migrants who do not want to apply for asylum here) for years, but because of the overcrowded asylum centers and because they often simply cannot be returned to their country of origin, the police say they are powerless.”
In one recent incident, an elderly woman discovered a man lurking near her garage. He reportedly attempted to steal her cell phone, but she managed to fight him off and call police.
The man was arrested and found to be drunk and in possession of stolen goods.
Another man suspected of committing up to five burglaries in a single day was recently apprehended.
Concerned residents began organizing civilian patrols in response to the crime wave, but officials have warned against the practice.
"We certainly don't minimize the facts. There are actually reports of burglaries or attempted burglaries. But we tend to exaggerate these things on social media," said Chief Constable Dirk Van Nuffel told Het Laatste Nieuws.
"Anyone who shadows transmigrants, hunts them down and suffers damage himself should not come to us or to the mayor to complain.”
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(PHOTO: Dursun Aydemir/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)Dan Lyman: Follow @CitizenAnalyst