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Berlin

Berlin mayor supports German government's call for increased video surveillance

Michael Müller, Berlin's Social Democratic mayor, has spoken out in favor of more video surveillance in the German capital. His comments represent a U-turn from the previous mandate of his ruling left-wing coalition.

Following last week's attack on a Berlin Christmas market, the city's mayor, Michael Müller, on Thursday expressed his support for increased video surveillance.

The attack at Berlin's Breitscheidplatz, which saw 12 people killed and nearly 50 wounded, has made video surveillance a key political topic of discussion, both at the federal and local level.

Speaking to Berlin broadcaster RBB, Müller said he hoped the federal government's proposals for increasing authorities' surveillance capabilities would be "put into motion."

Müller also admitted that installing more cameras wouldn't prevent future attacks, but it would "clearly get them resolved faster," he said.

The mayor listed a number of areas in his city that he said would be made safer through increased surveillance. These included Alexanderplatz in Mitte and a key crossing by the Kottbusser Tor in the Kreuzberg district, as well as Breitscheidplatz.

Surveillance U-turn

Müller's comments are a stark reversal from his coalition's earlier mandate not to introduce more surveillance cameras around Berlin.

The mayor has been forced to rethink the coalition's stance after German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere said last week that he wanted to see surveillance capabilities increased in Berlin and other major German cities. 

Video surveillance footage has proven itself useful in identifying the perpetrators in two notable recent crimes, both in Berlin.  A 27-year-old man who kicked a woman down a flight of subway stairs and a group of men who set fire to a homeless man were detained and charged after surveillance footage of their crimes was widely broadcast in the media.

Watch video 02:03

Berlin: Safer thanks to video surveillance?

dm/cmk (dpa, AFP)

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