After police have repeatedly failed to keep drug dealers out of a city park – even after implementing a zero-tolerance policy – the park manager decided to take matters into his own hands. Instead of trying to push drug dealers out, he created designated drug buying and selling zones by marking the areas with pink spray paint.
Cengiz Demirci, the manager of Görlitzer Park in Berlin, hopes that the pink boxes will keep drug dealers away from park entrances, something that he said could be intimidating to visitors, according to a report by Time.
“This method has purely practical reasoning behind it,” said Demirci. “It’s not that we’re legalizing the selling of drugs.”
Demirci also stated that many of the drug dealers who operate in the park are migrants or asylum seekers who are unable to work in Germany. He believes that, if the government would provide them with work permits, the problem could be resolved.
“If they did that then 90% of them would stop what they’re doing immediately.”
Police have openly criticized Demirci’s decision to create the drug dealer-friendly zones.
“What is needed to ensure that the park is drug and crime free, is a constant police presence and judicial resolve,” said Benjamin Jendro, a police trade union representative.
Marlene Mortler, Germany’s drug czar, also expressed concern about the special zones, saying that the designated areas are a “license to trade.”
While police previously announced a zero-tolerance policy toward drug dealers in the park, local residents assert that the situation hasn’t changed. On Thursday, the residents also said that the drug dealers don’t appear to be abiding by the new rule either.
Andreas Geisel, the Interior Minister, asserted that Demirci’s idea would not be used in other parks within the country.
He added, “Police are fighting drug trafficking, including in Görlitzer Park.”