Riskless in Munich - a special
Munich is considered the safest
city of over a million inhabitants in Europe. The main reason for its comparatively low crime rate is,
along with the city,s relative affluence, the high presence of the police
and security forces. Anything that could disturb the bright and peaceful picture of the "metropolis with a heart is shunted aside.
Homeless people or drug users are driven away from public places, just
as are migrants. Those who can afford it hire private security guards,
whereby the danger is that a two-class security system could become institutionalised. A well-known example is the notorious black
sheriffs who were the first security guards for hire in the German Federal Republic and, because of their violent interventions, fell into disrepute.
Even before September 11th the
topic of security had moved to the centre of attention of politics and the media. Although there is no direct connection between personal fear and actual threat, sharper controls
are being set up and tougher punishment meted out. In a climate, namely,
in which the economic and social changes of globalisation with their tendency to deregulation and flexibility prove unnerving, the
popular slogan "law and order can be used effectively in election
And with this need for more security, the acceptance of more controls and more surveillance also rises. The location of the Kunstverein Munich, situated among government buildings, business offices,
the American consulate and exclusive shops, is one of the best guarded
sites in the Republic. Shielded from danger or annoyance, here consumption
and culture can be enjoyed in full and the future successfully administered.
The armament metropolis of Munich
has since 1962 served as the site of the NATO Security Conferences, at which every year high-ranking
military officers, armament representatives and politicians meet. At the beginning of 2002 Munich,s centre city was transformed into a
high security zone and a comprehensive demonstration ban unceremoniously issued. In the Bavarian capital the quiet and safety of a "millionfold village reigns. And if the worst comes to the worst, there is
always the assurance of an insurance. Munich is, namely, the insurance
capital of Germany.
by Katharina Schlieben, in german only)