Duisburg has launched a number of operations in recent weeks in an effort to combat its reputation as a hotbed of crime.
Police in the western German city of Duisburg said on Tuesday that they had impounded seven luxury automobiles and arrested three people on suspicion of welfare fraud. The officers had set up a random spot check on a road leading to an employment agency in the city center and the neighborhood of Homberg, known for its ties to organized crime.
"Officers will take a closer look at the cars to determine whether the drivers were receiving benefits illegally, and if so, criminal charges will be filed," Duisburg police said in a statement.
The officers said that a man and a woman had been arrested for possible fraud while a third was arrested for a traffic violation. They added that charges of document falsification were also being investigated.
Although the crime rate in Duisburg is not significantly higher than many cities of a similar size in western Germany, it has long had a gritty reputation that the city is increasingly determined to shake.
Last week, municipal authorities announced a comprehensive plan to take down the 70 "families" of Kurdish, Turkish an Arab origin that make up the bulk of organized crime in the city. Some 880 gang members – of which there are believed to be over 2,000 in Duisburg – have already had charges filed against them.