As of 1 January 2022, the municipality is launching a ‘traffic light system’ which will divide student houses in Kralingen into three categories: green, orange and red. Green is for student houses that do not cause any problems in the neighbourhood. Orange means that they will be sanctioned, such as by having to do voluntary work or having to have a serious talk with the neighbours. For student houses in the red zone, there is a chance that their permit will be withdrawn.
Kralingen residents fed up with anti-social behaviour by students
Students are ‘major nuisance’ in Kralingen, according to residents.
Kralingers are demanding that the municipality put an end to the disruption caused by students. This mainly concerns noise nuisance, but also littering and public drunkenness. This is why the municipality is introducing a ‘traffic light system’ for student houses. Private security guards will also patrol the neighbourhood.
Student houses that do not cause any problems are marked green. The moment a house is the cause of recurring disruption – on the grounds of reports and observations by the police – it switches to orange and, if there is no improvement, even to red. When a house is marked red, then according to Vincent Karremans, councillor responsible for public order, outdoor space, integration and coexistence, ‘the ultimate consequence is to revoke the permit’.
The Residential Nuisance Team is currently working on this plan: how this system works exactly, which colour goes with which behavioural offences and which punishments are appropriate. The municipality will put the system into practice at the beginning of next year. “But from now on, we are already keeping track of the behaviour. So don’t think that you can go wild for another month and a half,” Karremans warns.
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Private security guards
In order to solve the problem of disturbances on the streets, the municipality is increasing its efforts to maintain public order. So that the police and the BOA investigators are not overburdened by the growing number of reports, the municipality plans to enlist the services of private security guards. “They are stewards from the hospitality sector and they will patrol and keep an eye on things at night. They will also send home students who cause a nuisance on the street. If there is a need, these security guards can contact the police.” By doing this, the councillor hopes to be able to register the trouble spots very clearly.
Karremans had planned to send in the private security guards immediately, but the latest lockdown threw a spanner in the works. “It doesn’t make much sense to send them in now, because the hospitality venues close at eight o’clock anyway. As soon as the light lockdown is over, we will bring them in right away,” he emphasises.
The disruptions in Kralingen have never been as bad as the last three years, local residents told at a residents’ evening held in September and to Erasmus Magazine. Karremans set to work straight away. He talked to local residents, members of the district committee and the Laurentius and RSC/RVSV student associations – which both have student houses in Kralingen.
He also joined the police night shift to experience for himself how serious the disruption is. “I started on a Thursday evening at 11 o’clock in the evening and five minutes later we already had the first reports of disturbances,” he says. On that evening, the reports were mainly about noise nuisance. “That’s what we’re going to tackle first,” says the alumnus.
Role of the EUR
Karremans appreciates that the university sent a warning letter to international students in Struisenburg. “Ultimately, the EUR is not responsible for the individual behaviour of students,” says Karremans. “But the university can certainly help the municipality by informing or issuing warnings to the international students living around campus.”
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Students are more than welcome in Rotterdam, Karremans insists. He himself studied at the EUR, so he understands why the university is becoming more and more popular. “It’s a great city to study in. We as a municipality also want to support students.” But in turn, they also have to be considerate towards their neighbourhood. “As a student, you receive a lot from society,” he says. “Former rector Henk Schmidt once sat next to me at a dinner party and said, ‘You only pay a very small part of your studies yourself, the rest is coughed up by society.’ So, the least you can do is to be considerate towards your neighbours.”
Splitting up houses into rooms
The problem of excessive splitting up of houses into rooms in Kralingen is also being addressed. Since last summer, no more new student houses have been built in Kralingen. The municipality is now adding a purchase scheme that protects against this practice. This means that you have got to live in the house yourself if you buy one. This applies to houses with a WOZ property value below €355,000. The municipality hopes that this will prevent investors from buying up and renting out the properties.