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Residents of a seaside Belgian town are considering taking the law into their own hands as a rash of crimes blamed on migrants spirals out of control.
Frustrated townsfolk in Zeebrugge see a connection between an increase in lawlessness and an ever-growing migrant population, while police caution against correlating the two.
Dozens of recent break-ins and robberies have prompted a backlash attributed to “the work of migrants,” prompting calls to “take matters into your own hands,” reports local media.
“If people see something suspicious, they must first call us,” insist police in response to potential vigilantism. “It is dangerous to assume immediately that the thefts are the work of migrants.”
Meanwhile, 63 migrants were recently arrested in the span of two days in Zeebrugge.
Zeebrugge Mayor Renaat Landuyt has also urged his constituents to avoid initiating confrontation, saying, “Do not take matters into your own hands.”
“It is our permanent concern to limit or avoid the inconvenience. The police do everything possible and keep checking. Unfortunately, the situation persists. But I can assure all residents that we remain alert.”
Fed-up locals are forced to share their town with delinquent migrants, who are “numerous in the streets,” according to HLN.
“Another thorn in the eyes of the local population is that the illegal immigrants are sleeping or sunbathing in the streets. This is the case, for example, in the Sint-Donaaspark and around the local church. But here too the message of the police remains the same: do not look for the confrontation and let the competent authorities do their work.”