AMSTERDAM- Their little Oscar was but of fake gold and the movie vouchers they were handed weren’t worth millions, but the group of Weekend College Amsterdam Zuidoost (Southeast) students who last Saturday won first prize with their little flick about the senselessness of street robberies were proud nonetheless.
The contest was kicked off two weeks ago, just before spring break, as part of a citywide “Streetrobbery is Pointless” awareness campaign.
Citywide Amsterdam has seen a staggering rise in street robbery numbers in recent years, peaking with 1,449 cases in 2011. Amsterdam Zuidoost police had more than 100 cases reported since the year started and no less than 82 young people have been arrested. Popular comedian Jandino Asporaat was chosen as the Ambassador for the awareness campaign with the city. The Weekendcollege, a city council supported educational support activity for predominantly immigrant children, accommodated by ROC Zuidoost, hosted its own awareness campaign. Representatives of the police force and the Youth’s Law Clinic informed the students about the dangers and consequences of committing and falling victim to street robbery, and how this type of crime can be prevented. The youth then –in collaboration with film crews from youth info website Bijlmerenzo-, produced five short films; these were uploaded to Bijlmerenzo, and viewers could vote on their favorite flick.
“Komt goed” (It’ll be alright), in which a group of loitering boys rob and stab a woman who subsequently dies, won first prize. Driedubbele roof (triple robbery) a funny little film about spiraling robberies -committed by youngsters who even end up robbing the camera filming them-, was a strong, very strong contender; some argued that it would have made a better winner.
“You’re all winners. Just the fact that you all took part in this activity and were able to turn these insightful themes into short films, is worth a compliment,” said Muriël Dalgliesh, city councilwoman for Amsterdam Zuidoost who presented the winners with their prize. The Councilwoman said she was alarmed by the street robbery figures. “I hope these are not our youths, but that others come into our community and commit these crimes,” she said. Dalgliesh: “Street robbery is not cool. You should know what kind of kind of impact it can have on your own life and of the lives of your family, whether your victim or perpetrator.”
HUXX is Marvin Hokstam, a Caribbean journalist who is rapidly going from reluctant to carefully amazed by Amsterdam