Minister of the Interior Roman Poseck: “With the safety portal, we are succeeding in making Hesse even safer.”
The “Security Portal Hesse” has been available to citizens in Hesse since the beginning of February 2023. Under the motto “Safe together in Hesse”, the “Sicherheitsportal Hessen” combines the HessenGegenHetze reporting center, the Hessian police’s online watch and the state-wide defect reporter. In its first year, the security portal recorded 241,743 hits and 8,117 reported defects (as of 30.01.2024).
“As Minister of the Interior, I want to do everything I can to ensure that people in Hesse can live as safely as possible and feel safe. Various projects contribute to this: For a year now, citizens have been able to report defects such as defective street lighting, vandalism or other anomalies on site. This can be done very easily online, around the clock, with just a few clicks of the mouse via the defect detector integrated into the safety portal. In the first year, more than 4,900 defects have already been rectified and continuously processed by the cities and municipalities. This is a great success and shows how Hesse is working together to further improve security and the feeling of security,” explained Roman Poseck, Minister of the Interior, Security and Homeland Security.
The defects reported by citizens are forwarded to the responsible municipality for further processing. Since February 2023, the focus has been on defective street lighting, vandalism and illegal waste dumping. This means that around 60 percent of the defects received across Hesse have been processed and rectified to date. At present, 340 of Hesse’s 421 municipalities are already involved in the Hesse-wide defect reporter. A further five municipalities have signaled their interest and will soon be connected to the system.
Citizens reported 276 “areas of fear”
A special function of the defect reporter is the option to report so-called “areas of fear” in the municipalities. These locations, where people feel less safe, are sent to the Hessian police to examine measures to increase the feeling of safety. So far, 276 such locations have been reported to the Hessian police across the state. The categories “darkness/lack of visibility”, “littering/garbage deposits” and “vandalism” are frequently selected. Even if the statistical evaluation of the incoming reports does not allow a reliable analysis of the security situation or any meaningful conclusions to be drawn about it, the entries from the first twelve months provide insights for police work and the feeling of security on the ground.
In order to be able to initiate tailor-made police measures based on the findings, the reports received are evaluated by the local police departments and police officers with local knowledge.
Together with the local authorities, appropriate measures are then derived to strengthen the sense of security. As a first step, the areas of fear are forwarded to the responsible police departments and stations so that the colleagues of the Hessian police can adapt their “patrols” in a targeted and citizen-oriented manner.
Deficiency and fear area detector is being further developed
The defect and fear area detector will be further expanded. The aim is to make it easier for Hesse’s local authorities to process incoming reports via the defect detector in future and thus ensure that the concerns of the Hessian population are addressed even more quickly. With the enhancements to the state-wide defect reporter, the participating municipalities are to receive comprehensive user administration in their processing system. In future, for example, employees can be activated and authorized for individual categories of defect reports so that every report is immediately sent to the right place within the administration.
There are also plans to integrate the fear area reports into the Hessian police’s mobile situational awareness system by further developing the fear area detector. In this way, police officers will not only receive mobile information about the objective situation, i.e. the number of crimes in a location, but also an overview of the population’s sense of security – directly on their smartphone while on patrol.
“With the security portal and its services, the Hessian police are in constant communication with citizens and give them the opportunity to get actively involved. Thanks to the short lines of communication, the Hessian police have once again become much closer to the citizens. We want to make even greater use of the knowledge gained for police work in the future. I would be delighted if our safety portal continues to be used so actively by citizens and even more Hessian municipalities decide to take part in the deficiency report. This will enable us to make Hesse even safer,” continued Interior Minister Roman Poseck.
Further developed online watch / support in the area of hate and agitation
Anyone wishing to file a criminal complaint or report information to the police can also access the Hessian police’s online watch on the security portal. Last year, more than 92,000 incidents (2022: around 101,000) were reported via the online watch alone, including crimes such as bicycle theft, online auction fraud or skimming offenses (illegal skimming of credit or debit cards for fraud purposes). Most recently, the online police service was fundamentally overhauled as part of a cross-border project and upgraded to a modern platform: June 2023 saw the official launch of the “new Hessian Onlinewache”. In addition to a revised homepage and new offense-specific forms, the main new features here are the file upload and user authentication options. The new platform is operated jointly by a total of 12 state police forces and is constantly being further developed in order to promote the harmonization of state-specific procedures, among other things.
Hateful, potentially criminal or extremist content on the internet as well as extremist activities that are not connected to the internet can also be reported via the security portal. Victims and witnesses of hate speech and extremism can find a direct link to the HessenGegenHetze reporting office, which was set up by the Hessian state government in January 2020. Within the first four years, more than 39,000 posts from social networks and websites were reported to the HessenGegenHetze hotline, 60 percent of which were classified as hate speech. The report office forwarded around 47 percent to the Central Office for Combating Internet Crime (ZIT) at the Public Prosecutor General’s Office in Frankfurt am Main or to the Central Reporting Office for Criminal Content on the Internet (ZMI) of the Federal Criminal Police Office on suspicion of criminal content. Around 23 percent of cases were passed on to the Hesse State Office for the Protection of the Constitution (LfV Hessen) for evaluation due to indications of extremism. The reporting office forwarded 311 cases to the Hessian State Office of Criminal Investigation (HLKA) on suspicion of a specific danger or threat.
The security portal is available at https://sicherheitsportal.hessen.de/