Kaiserslautern may soon see more police patrols
September 4, 2005
KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany — Anyone headed to downtown Kaiserslautern to party soon could be seeing more and longer U.S. military and German police patrols.
The increased patrols could result from a recent meeting between Kaiserslautern Lord Mayor Bernhard J. Deubig and senior Kaiserslautern military community officials.
Deubig requested the meeting after a local German newspaper printed an article in which downtown Kaiserslautern residents complained that Americans were loud and problematic during evening and early morning hours.
On Aug. 23, Deubig met with U.S. officials, including Air Force Col. Robert Kane, commander of the Kaiserslautern military community and the 86th Airlift Wing; Air Force Col. Kurt Lohide, commander of the 435th Air Base Wing; and Army Lt. Col. Erik Daiga, commander of the 415th Base Support Battalion.
“Col. Kane met with the lord mayor’s office to work cooperatively on a solution,” said Capt. Jenny Lovett, 86th Airlift Wing spokeswoman.
Military officials would not discuss details of possible actions because of an agreement to withhold comment until the lord mayor’s office issued a press release. As of Friday — 10 days after the initial meeting — his office had not sent a release.
While Deubig would not discuss what actions could arise from the meeting, an Aug. 12 article in the Die Rheinpfalz, a local German newspaper, quoted Deubig saying that his goal in talking to U.S. military leaders would be to increase and extend common patrols.
When asked Thursday if joint U.S. and German patrols were set to increase in Kaiserslautern, Deubig said talks with military officials were continuing.
“When 55,000 people are in a city with 100,000 people, little misunderstandings are normal,” Deubig said. “We are working on the best way to have a good solution.”
The latest occurrence of American-on-German crime happened early last Sunday morning. German police reported that a 23-year-old German man was treated at a hospital after being attacked by 10 Americans in downtown Kaiserslautern at 4:30 a.m.
Whether there is a serious problem with troop behavior in Kaiserslautern or it is media contrived depends on whom you speak with and what reports you read.
“They do get kind of loud, but that depends on what nights you’re talking about,” said 21-year-old Ron Kennison, who recently got out of the Army.
“On Friday or Saturday nights, it can get loud, but I haven’t seen fights or anything like that ever.”
Kaiserslautern police officials said this week that despite the recent attention, Americans are not involved in any more incidents than they have been in the past.
“I think it’s an impression by the people living in the town that there are more incidents involving Americans, but the statistics say something different,” said Christiane Lautenschläger, spokeswoman with Kaiserslautern Police.
Lautenschläger noted that roughly 50,000 Americans live in the Kaiserslautern area and said proportionally the amount of incidents concerning Americans is less than those involving Germans.
And brutal crimes against Americans take place as well. Last month, a 35-year-old American woman was attacked, carjacked, robbed and tear-gassed by a German-speaking man with an eastern European accent.
Deubig has taken heat in recent weeks in the letters to the editor of the Die Rheinpfalz. The mayor also was targeted by a rival political party chief in a July 1 letter that asked Deubig to tell U.S. military officials about the troops’ nighttime behavior in Kaiserslautern.