On call the light goes on – academy yard ludwigsburg is to become safer

How do you secure a place that is not insecure enough to really crack down on it? This is the question Ludwigsburg’s city administration and the city council are grappling with. It’s all about the Akademiehof. Last summer there were several riots here. Now the administration has presented its security concept and explained why there will be no video surveillance – even if they wanted to.

Under control: Ludwigsburg’s Akademiehof will not be left out of the police’s sight this year either. Photo: Holm Wolschendorf

Ludwigsburg. The Akademiehof repeatedly made headlines last summer. It was about nocturnal disturbances of the peace, riots, littering, damage to property and violent assaults and finally resulted in a ban on staying after 11 p.m.

"We don’t want surveillance systems but danger prevention"

According to information from the police, it is mostly individuals who are the triggers for these incidents. The majority of young people who meet there in the evening are peaceful. Therefore, for the city administration and the municipal council, a permanent ban on loitering is not a solution. Instead, a security concept has now been developed, which has been positively received by both the Committee for Mobility and Environment and the Youth Community Council. Essentially, it’s about lighting, education, placemaking and toilets. "We don’t want a surveillance system but only danger prevention," emphasized Mayor Sebastian Mannl.

Floodlighting is triggered by code word

"In the spring, the lighting should go into operation," said Heinz Mayer, head of the department of security and order. Upon request, the academy courtyard could then be "lit up as bright as day". Along the academies motion detectors are installed, in order to keep Wildpinkler from their intention.

The lighting is only activated when the police or the municipal security service (KOD) request it from the Stadtwerke control center. "The activation will be triggered with a code word," Mayer explained. One must not fear, however, that this is the case three times a week.

Video surveillance had also been considered in advance, but there is no legal basis for it, explained the head of the Ludwigsburg police department, Christian Zacherle. "In order to monitor the square by video, the crime cases here would have to be significantly above the average in the city. But this is not the case."

In 2020, there were 18 criminal offenses in the academy courtyard

For the same reason, the square could not be designated a "knife-free zone," as FDP City Councilor Stefanie Knecht suggested. In 2020, 18 crimes were reported on the square, he said. "Every second, third young person who is out after 10 p.m. has a knife with him," Zacherle said. But this is not a phenomenon of the Akademiehof, he said.

Free voters demand permanent toilet solution

The issue of toilets continues to be problematic. Again and again there is trouble, because party people urinate on house walls. "The toilet facility was originally built as a temporary measure," says Mayer. They would not be vandalism-proof and would have to be shut down over the winter because the pipes are not weather-resistant. A permanent toilet such as on the Barenwiese would cost 200,000 euros. Andreas Rothacker announced for his faction of the Free Voters to make an application for a proper toilet facility. "This is so important! There nevertheless the young people nothing for it can."

Food truck and music

With events, program, background music and, for example, food trucks, the square should be played on the weekends and develop into a meeting place for all citizens. At the same time from 23 o’clock task forces in uniform as well as mobile youth work will be on the spot. With an education and prevention campaign, for example via social media, it is hoped to take a further step towards greater safety. "The academy yard will still be a meeting place. But when the mood turns, we’re there," says Heinz Mayer.

Approval from the youth council and the municipal council

Tim Tibi, vice chair of the Youth Community Council, stressed, "It’s important that all groups use the academy courtyard. No one wants to wage war on young people. It should be a safe place for all."

And also on the part of the local councils there was agreement for the procedure. "We don’t want to be a nuisance," said Klaus Hermann (CDU). "But we need to put the few who don’t behave properly in their place." Nathanael Maier expressed relief that there will be no video surveillance. "Playing the course and taking care of it, we think that’s good."

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