The mayor and the residents of Boostedt are increasingly worried about how migrants are affecting their hometown. In the last three years, around 1,200 migrants were settled in the town’s military barracks, which is a 26 per cent population increase.
Hartmut König, the mayor of the town with 4,600 inhabitants, tells German broadcaster NDR in an interview how admitting so many migrants has had a negative impact on the town.
“It’s quite simply the behaviour. For example, in shops things are stolen. I experienced it myself: three refugees walking on the pavement, not making enough room for a woman with a pushchair and a child coming in their direction. They make no room; she has to move onto the street to get around them,” the mayor says.
“That’s just one incident, but it shows the entire picture. Besides that, they leave piles of rubbish and use every available space to sit around and drink beer,” he adds.
While broadcaster NDR attempts to minimise the issues, saying that these migrants are mostly young men with little chance of permanent residency in Germany, residents share their worries in front of the camera.
“Helping makes sense, it’s our ecclesiastical obligation, but the way things are going — that these people are being left to themselves, walking around, sitting everywhere in the city; no one recognises our city anymore — Boostedt used to be a beautiful place,” an elderly man says.
Since Merkel opened Germany’s borders in 2015, the country accepted around 1.5 million migrants, from mostly the Middle East and Northern Africa.