Stuttgart's city centre at night , Source: Depositphotos

Stuttgart to set up a weapons-free zone in the city centre

Stuttgart to set up a weapons-free zone in the city centre

It will be in force only at night and on weekends to help reduce knife crime

Last week, the local government in Stuttgart, Germany, decided to set up a weapons-free zone (Waffenverbotszone) in the city’s central Mitte district. The zone prohibits people from carrying firearms and knives with a blade longer than 4 cm.

This development came about after the State Government in Baden-Württemberg decided to give cities the legislative tools to set up the zones back in October. Regional and local authorities opted to go in that direction as a response to rising knife crime in urban areas.

The weapons-free zone will come into effect on 1 February and will apply only on Fridays and weekends, as well as around national holidays, from 8 PM to 6 AM. This is because these are the times when the majority of knife crime occurs in Stuttgart, according to information from the local police department.

The zone does not give police extra authority

According to a statement by city authorities, the weapons-free zone will not give police the right to do stop-and-frisk random searches, and neither will it increase police presence. However, it does give police the right to confiscate weapons that are not permitted.

Apart from firearms and stun guns, the ban will also prohibit knives with a fixed or lockable blade of more than 4 cm. This would leave only very small blades, not much longer than a regular key.

Stuttgart’s Police Chief Markus Eisenbraun was quoted, as explaining that this is aimed primarily at knives and is a clear signal that knives should not be taken into the city at certain times. If the police find a knife during a check, he continued, they would have the power to take it permanently out of the game.

Evaluation and prevention

The weapons-free zone in Stuttgart’s Mitte district is set to last for two years, initially, though the local council may decide to extend it. Additionally, authorities plan to evaluate the impact of the zone and expand it to more districts if it proves effective.

According to the city, between March 2021 and March 2022, there were a total of 1,048 recorded knife‐related crimes. These numbers include altercations in which people were injured by knives, but also cases in which a knife was used to threaten someone or a knife was carried. More than 40% of these crimes occurred in the evening and night hours of the weekend.



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