Gangs. Weapons. Drugs. Violence. Refusing to accept the growing cancer outside of her church doors, Holmlia parish priest Silje Kivle Andreassen drafted an open letter to civic leaders begging help over a situation that has her parishioners feeling insecure and fearful.
“We can’t expose our children to such insecurity (as street violence and open gun play) – we can’t do that.” Andreassen wrote.
Her anguish caught attention, resulting in a public meeting gathered Tuesday (13 Feb) at Holmlia public hall.
The public meeting saw Justic Minister Listhaug (Progress Party), NTB City Council leader Johansen (AP), Oslo Police Chief Sjøvold and Unit Head John Lund in attendance, along with concerned citizens from across the area.
Lund states that much of the violence and drug crimes in southeast Oslo are directly linked to gang activity and that over 20 employees have been allocated from the Oslo police district to help do battle.
The City Council leader reminded that it’s important to reflect how wonderful Holmlia is and why it’s worth the fight: ‘We’ll do our part. We have area initiatives, a focus upon kindergartens, school activity groups and leisure clubs. Then the police must fight and break up these gangs who sharpen their criminal skills in Groruddalen.’
Justice Minister Sylvi Listhaug (Frp) voiced a clear position: ‘The district is far from Swedish conditions but we take this seriously and we’ll make an effort to take control.’
The Justice Minister rejects that Holmlia’s situation is reminiscent of the deplorable conditions in vulnerable Swedish areas and agrees that addressing problems early is part of the solution.
Minister Listhaug also reminded that police don’t work in a vacuum and depend upon cooperation between different groups to help the fight.
$30 mil NOK has been allocated to increase policing efforts; both towards prevention and in dealing with criminal gangs in Holmlia.
Holmlia is located in the district Søndre Nordstrand, southeast of Oslo.
© NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today