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German interior minister calls for more video surveillance to combat burglaries

In a bid to reduce Germany's rising burglary rate, the country's interior minister has called for more CCTV cameras and special surveillance officers. More than 160,000 burglaries were recorded last year.

In an interview with the "Rheinische Post" newspaper on Thursday, German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere called for more video surveillance, particularly around housing estates and quiet residential areas.

Video surveillance could act as an "important element" to deter burglaries, de Maiziere said.

Germany's

burglary rate hit a 15-year high in 2015,

with an increase of nearly 10 percent on the previous year. According to police statistics released in March, more than 160,000 burglaries were reported last year.

Saxon model

As well as increasing the number of CCTV cameras, de Maiziere also proposed deploying more surveillance officers to watch over the most susceptible areas.

Thomas de Maiziere

German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere

The special police officers, known in Germany as "Hilfspolizisten," can begin working after just a few months of training, but have fewer powers than regular police.

In the eastern German state of Saxony, 47 graduates from the training scheme have already joined the regular police force. The armed, uniformed officers are predominantly tasked with the protection of property and people.

De Maiziere praised the program, describing Saxony's efforts as a "pioneering model."

Vice chancellor demands more officers

De Maiziere's proposals came just days after Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel said he wanted to expand Germany's federal police force by the thousands.

Gabriel said the 3,000 new posts already agreed upon by Germany's grand coalition government composed of German Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservatives and his Social Democrats (SPD) would not be sufficient to increase citizens' peace of mind.

Watch video 04:28

Everything under control? Smart surveillance

"We need an additional 3,000 positions" beyond those already agreed upon and the police should be better paid, the vice chancellor told newspapers of the Funke Media Group.

He added that Germany's 16 states should also increase their police force at the same rate.

ksb/cw (AFP, dpa)

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