Heidelberg Altstadt Stirbt (R.I.P)

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Posted

I have just been briefly informed about this and I was not quite sure if it was a joke but it's not April fool's day yet. Does anyone have any information about this? Apparently those who live in the Altstadt demand that the pubs are removed from this area due to noise and drunk people. I can see their point but then again this is Altstadt, it is so, I chose to live here even though sometimes it is too much.

 

I am not sure what the case is so that is why I am asking, any clues?

 

 

Related topic: Heidelberg bans public drinking

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Posted

The people who complain were there before the Altstadt was turned into some sort of party town (around 1980). The Bürger für Heidelberg initiative, which is at the forefront of this, was founded in the early 70s.

 

And the people don't want the pubs removed per se; they want a fierce lockdown on their opening hours, and on people drinking out in the streets instead of in the pubs. The primary complaint is against the Rucksacktrinker bringing their own stuff, and later leaving it in the form of vomit or piss against the walls in the area; the pub owners actually agree with the residents there, because those people are nothing but leeches who don't even bring them any income.

 

Besides, it's more of a recent problem anyway. Police has less money for patrols in the area nowadays, so unlike ten to fifteen years ago, there isn't a police van with six guys with batons drawn ready to bring some semblance of order back into the area (and no, i'm not overstating things here - security is a valid concern; you do know that a guy was beaten to death in Untere Straße a while ago and with 300 people around no one supposedly saw anything?).

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Posted

Oh, and on a bit more serious note:

 

Google for "37-Punkte-Plan Heidelberg". It's a plan by the city outlining how to control the area better - send in a bit more police, make sure no one is illegally selling alcohol outside bars after 10 pm, making sure the pubs all close by 3 am, making sure pubs close their windows after 10 pm. All little stuff that should be selbstverständlich.

 

The "RIP Heidelberg" guys are against the 37-Punkte-Plan, and claim the city is trying to "take away their fun". And that's literally. For the most part these guys consist of little kids (err.. students) who haven't learned yet that what might be fun to them isn't necessarily fun to others, and that there's such a thing as consideration for other people in life. Or in other words, they're narcist egoist assholes. Or average early-twens and late-teens.

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Posted

Wait. People that live in the Altstadt predate the pubs? I went to a pub that was from the 1800s.

 

The rest of what you're talking about is drinking in public. Not illegal, and nothing to do with the pubs.

 

And it's laughable that Heidelberg, the most touristed city in Germany, cannot afford proper police security.

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Posted

You have to remember that there are only state police in Germany - no city police. Kato probably can tell us all the ins and outs but I would suspect that the money and management come from somewhere else like Stuttgart or Karlsruhe and it is not entirely in the hands of the Heidelberg politicians to decide how much police presence must be available and where.

 

I agree with kato wholeheartedly. I come from a tourist town where weekly beach renters would behave like everyone was on vacation like them and had no consideration for people who lived there. A balance has to be struck between the two and the RIP guys remind me of the fraternity idiots from New Jersey who would come down and wreck our nice town because it wasn't where their mommies and daddies could see them. The people of the Altstadt are not asking that it be turned in to museum, they are simply asking for this balance.

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Posted

I lived next to a pub downtown HD, just temporarily though. Yes, it was very noisy at night, specially Fridays and Saturdays. But in this case, I noticed, the problem was the smokers that had to go outside the bar to smoke. There were always a bunch of them, talking loud and often fighting.

Maybe they should be allowed to smoke inside pubs again?

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Posted

 

Wait. People that live in the Altstadt predate the pubs? I went to a pub that was from the 1800s.

 

The problem area isn't the old pubs; you mean those on the Hauptstraße i presume. The problem area is Untere Straße (near Heiliggeistkirche), as well as other side streets in that area.

 

Untere Straße entirely consists of about twenty bars and two kiosks selling alcohol; these kiosks now have to be shuttered down by law at 10 pm, Heidelberg was one of those pushing for the law to be passed. In the evening, the street is usually crowded by around 300-400 people drinking and smoking outside; this goes on until well after 3 pm. The people rather traditionally use the less crowded sidestreets to take a piss or dump their stomach content.

 

The whole area is often rather volatile, there are few evenings there without a number of fights and one or two mass fights with more than 20 people involved. About 3 or 4 years ago, a US soldier was beaten to death in such a fight with a security guy of one of the bars (who later claimed that he showed the guy the door and he "must have fallen unluckily on his head outside"); injuries are common things, i've had friends getting beaten up in the area when going home alone. There have been instances where police trying to arrest people has had to withdraw, sometimes in situations reminiscent of the Schanzenviertel in Hamburg.

 

 

The rest of what you're talking about is drinking in public. Not illegal, and nothing to do with the pubs.

 

It can be made illegal through area-specific police orders (like e.g. public drinking or carrying alcohol has been illegal at the Mathaise-Markt and other festivals in the area for a couple years now). The city is thinking about one for the Untere Straße area, at least within a certain time limit (e.g. after midnight).

 

 

You have to remember that there are only state police in Germany - no city police. Kato probably can tell us all the ins and outs but I would suspect that the money and management come from somewhere else like Stuttgart or Karlsruhe and it is not entirely in the hands of the Heidelberg politicians to decide how much police presence must be available and where.

Yeah, local police forces have been cut (iirc by another 5% just a while ago in 2008). Offhand, Heidelberg PD has ~1.100 officers for both the city of Heidelberg and most of the Rhine-Neckar District (total population of catchment area 650,000). Of these, 10% are stationed with Police District HD-Mitte responsible for Altstadt, Bergheim, Weststadt, Schlierbach and Ziegelhausen.

 

Heidelberg has had additional security problems due to the cutdown in US MPs stationed with the HQ (and 9/11 of course creating additional requirements). State Police has to compensate for this, and the state has deployed a full company of Bereitschaftspolizei in Heidelberg (you can recognize them by the GP license plates) as an officially "temporary" measure now going on for 10 years. There have been calls to additionally bolster Heidelberg PD with at least the same number of additional officers (about 150 more than current have been called for), but the state considers that too costly.

 

The state usually points out that PD Heidelberg's per-capita police presence is in line with the state average (of about 500 people per officer). Local representatives usually point out that while HD Mitte's 110 officers are in line with that, the Altstadt area creates a disproportionate security requirement - 60% of public disturbances in HD Mitte's catchment area stem from the Altstadt, which accounts for less than 20% of the catchment area's population. Additionally, the 10,000 tourists streaming into the Altstadt per day on average are not accounted for.

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Posted

Having partied a couple of nights in the Altstadt I can say that there are at lease two things causing the majority of the problems:

1) overcrowding - they need more places with indoor space

2) teenies - drunk teenies everywhere and they are not old enough to get into the bars anyway but they do have their back(six)packs

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Posted

The 37-items-catalogue, translated by me. Most of the 37 items i personally can agree with. Some of this is ad-hoc stuff as temporary immediate measures, others are long-time considerations. There's some controversial over-the-top stuff in there too though (e.g. #24). Somehow i find the second part of #35 outright funny. :D

 

 

  1. Passing a police order enforcing legal closing times; restricting exceptions to places where there are no complaints or actions by police or municipal security force have been necessary. [done]
  2. Requiring sound emission protection measures (through building laws; e.g. requirements to keep windows closed at night)
  3. Restricting bars serving outside by passing a street usage concept.
  4. Cracking down on bars serving outside outside allowed hours.
  5. If violating item 4, consider forcing shortened opening hours on bar owner as effective countermeasure.
  6. Strict crackdown on violations of opening hours laws (new state law passed 01.01.2010).
  7. Limiting visitor/guest numbers within bars (through building laws)
  8. In some cases, require owners to hire security.
  9. Require sound emission estimates / prognoses / measuring.
  10. Require emission limiters for music systems in bars.
  11. In some cases with non-compliant owners outlaw them from playing music during certain times (read: e.g. after midnight).
  12. Crack down on violations of the laws regarding outlawing of flatrate drinking and discounts on alcohol (new state law passed 01.03.2010)
  13. Form an internal taskforce to deal preventively with undesired developments (e.g. new bars; undesired gastronomical concepts)
  14. Appeal to landlords to rent out only to establishments not causing noise problems (possibly including subsidies for landlords).
  15. Talk to bar owners to change gastronomical concepts to keep away undesired guest spectrum (no "Ballermann Image" in the Untere Straße, preferably no stag nights)
  16. Make the city-owned places (e.g. Palmbräu-Haus) a model for other landlords; install sound-proofing, deny sound emission in rental contracts, possibly rent out preferably to stores instead of bars
  17. Establish a 24/7 phone line with the city to deal with complaints; forward automatically to police at night; pre-print complaint forms for population.
  18. Talk to bar owners to include smoking rooms in their establishments to prevent smokers from going outside.
  19. Talk to bar owners about possible increase in security personnel.
  20. Offer training to security staff of bars regarding deescalation and possible measures in public space.
  21. Offer more public toilets within the affected area. Immediate measure: place city-owned mobile toilet trailer at Heumarkt.
  22. Talk to RNV and DB about possibly outlawing alcohol on their trains and busses.
  23. Increase bus frequency at night to get people away from the affected area more quickly; make the bus stops more publicly visible to bar frequenters.
  24. Stage entries or comments in relevant blogs on the internet saying police cracks down on stuff in Heidelberg
  25. Target youths under alcoholic influence with special measures to achieve a change of mind; possible measure reporting them to driver's license department questioning ability to drive
  26. Targeted youth protection campaigns by police and municipal security service
  27. Better police concepts (increased presence; specific single actions and campaigns)
  28. Increased presence of municipal security service; possibly deferring other duties to prioritize
  29. Consequent charging of people causing public disturbances e.g. for public urinating
  30. Order offenders out of the area (Platzverweis)
  31. For repeat offenders consider longer-term send-offs (Aufenthaltsverbot)
  32. Write letter to interior minister Rech calling for changes to police law to allow better preventive measures [done]
  33. Reduce public performances on city squares in the area.
  34. Consequently apply and check alcohol prohibition (for stores, not bars) after 10 pm (state law passed 01.03.2010)
  35. Better/brighter street lighting in downtown areas after midnight. Send street sweeping machines through problematic area shortly after midnight.
  36. Possible joint security service of bars (not replacing police)
  37. Consider outlawing "to-go-drinks" after 10 pm (citing littering offenses)
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Posted

This is interesting. I realize it's a problem but I'm a little envious.

 

Where I live we've narrowed the nightlife problem down to a list of one:

 

1. We've got two lousy pubs

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Posted

And as a PS to the above post about the police - of course there is a "city police": the municipal security service, Kommunaler Ordnungsdienst (KOD).

 

In Heidelberg, the KOD has a grand total of 6 men and women. These actually patrol the problem areas during weekend nights in two-man-teams and offer some deescalation. They're legally allowed to ban people from areas and hand out fines; they act unarmed (pepper spray only). The Heidelberg KOD was started in February last year after calls for such an additional service.

 

In addition, Heidelberg has paid the RNV to hire security goons for the trams and busses (jointly with Mannheim). If you've been around on the trams in HD or MA in the last couple weeks you might have seen them. Six-man teams, uniformed. Officially they're "service staff" or something, but you don't really need "service staff" to carry CS gas, do you?

 

Oh, and in the above post i meant "well after 3 am" of course, not 3 pm >_>

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Posted

Wow, Heidelberg sure has changed since I lived there. It was a safe, if rather quiet place for an exchange year "way back then".

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Posted

 

You have to remember that there are only state police in Germany - no city police

Wrong... I suggest you read this and this. They don't go into as much detail as the German lang. version, but you'll get the idea.

 

Stadtpolizei = City Police

Landespolizei = State Police

Bundespolizei = Federal Police

 

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Posted

Meh, this stuff already started fifteen years ago when i was a teen - but back then it was only certain days during the year. E.g. after the Heidelberger Herbst, or on New Years Eve, or on the graduation days of the local highschools. Those nights you better travelled around the Altstadt in groups, and tried to avoid fights. If you didn't you might end up in traction, because everyone will be piss drunk around you and it'll just start a mass fight. But nowadays, it gets like that pretty much every weekend.

 

Regarding the police: I remember that back in the 90s, the Heidelberger Herbst mandated a sweeping police patrol consisting of something like eight to ten officers (including at least two or three US MPs) "cleaning up" at night. And they went into the Hauptstraße right at Bismarckplatz with batons drawn already. Nowadays, they no longer have the money for that, and instead you'll have a single patrol car cruising down the pedestrian area with two guys inside - ok, so they have a sub-machine gun with them that way to defend themselves, but it also means that they'll always need to call in reinforcements to break up simple fights.

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Posted

 

Wrong... I suggest you read this and this. They don't go into as much detail as the German lang. version, but you'll get the idea.

 

Baden-Württemberg hasn't had a Stadtpolizei since the 70s, and even back then only the three 250,000+ cities had one. Heidelberg has a Gemeindevollzugsdienst to write parking tickets, and the small Kommunaler Ordnungsdienst outlined above, both of which can be remotely seen as local police officers with limited rights and duties.

 

And for completeness' sake: Heidelberg's GVD has 25 officers.

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Posted

As a bar owner in the Altstadt (not on the Unterestrasse) I think you will find that the RIP guys are not all students and teenies, most bar owners are against the 37 punkte plan.

Re point one, we had the police round 2 weeks ago on a Sunday Night at 2.15am when everything was closed banging at the window because the cook and his girlfriend were sitting at the bar after hours (the cook had just helped the barman to clean up )they then demanded that his girlfriend leave immediately, that she had no right to be there, when the barman pointed out that she should not be walking home on her on at that time of night they started shouting at him that he was illegally selling drinks after hours and will be sent a fine through the post.

Re point 4 they then informed that under these new rules even staff should no longer be there after hours except to clean up and they cannot even have a drink after work!

Re point 13 and 14 the Stadt have just granted licenses to 2 new bars, 1 kiosk and 1 Nightclub on the Unterstrasse in the last 6 months

Re point 15 No stag nights, how can you possibly enforce that

Re point 16 Palmbrau in my opinion is more a restaurant than a bar

Re point 18 some barowners do not want a smoking area. As a smoker myself I do not even go in smoking bars any more.

Most of the points are of course obvious, nobody wants yobs running around the town pissing and vomiting but it is up to the Stadt and the Polizei to monitor and control and ordinary people and the bar owners should not be penalised for this. Some of us are just trying to make a living.

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Posted

 

Re point 4 they then informed that under these new rules even staff should no longer be there after hours except to clean up and they cannot even have a drink after work!

 

If your staff pays for the drinks or use the bar to host private activities in that time, it's business after hours; by ending their worktime, the staff turns into customers. Which is illegal under current law.

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Posted

 

Wrong... I suggest you read this and this. They don't go into as much detail as the German lang. version, but you'll get the idea.Stadtpolizei = City PoliceLandespolizei = State PoliceBundespolizei = Federal Police

 

Guys who give out parking tickets are not police. Real police risk their lives everyday to protect the public. I don't consider "minding the activities of shop owners" as real police work. Plus your reference says: "So the local and city police forces were merged with the Landpolizei..."

 

I think the Brass Monkey and other pub owners have a right to earn a living though and I enjoy going to those places. This is all about the balance thing I mentioned earlier. What goes on outside on the streets should be controlled with police presence and hefty fines for violators. Not sure why some of those 37 points are so crazy though- perhaps a negotiation tactic to get the real points in and give up the crazy stuff?

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Posted

 

So the local and city police forces were merged with the Landpolizei..."

And should you do more reading on the 1st link, and other sites, you will see that many cities still have their own

police force. Munich for example has quite a large dept. They carry guns, and have normal police powers.

Nowhere did I say that the people giving out parking tickets are cops, I believe that falls under the ordungs/strassenamt.

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Posted

Well, technically, half the list is just consequently applying existing laws.

 

The other stuff can be summarized as:

- increase police and security staff presence in the area, as well as other measures to prevent crimes

- install public toilets so people don't piss against the walls

- improve security on public transport, both onboard and at the stops

- talk to bar owners about problematic behaviour of guests and how to deal with that

 

And then there's maybe two or three points in there i'd consider over-the-top.

 

Also, these aren't really final. There's a round table discussion brainstorming this stuff essentially, and also discussing possible implementation. For example, to improve police presence, it's been proposed at the last discussion that the KOD manpower should be doubled, and that the KOD should rent a currently closed kiosk in Untere Straße as a station so they'd show presence right where it's needed. The doubling and the station would effectively allow a two-man patrol to only bother with Untere Straße, while other problematic areas - e.g. the Neckarwiese - could be patrolled by a second patrol from existing staff.

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