We’re just days removed from Tomorrowland 2019 and the storylines continue rolling in. Accordingly, Belgian news organizations reveal the findings in the Antwerp public prosecutor‘s crime report. Seemingly the prosecutor in collaboration with the federal police, seeks to track the festival’s impact on local crime. As of Wednesday, the results of the annual report are now public. As expected, Redditors are all over this, already breaking down a report from Belgium news outlet Het Laatste Nieuws (HLN).
Certainly, crime isn’t a problem unique to Tomorrowland. Any time large groups of people gather, one can expect a spike in reports of illicit behavior. However as music festivals continue to grow in size and popularity, it is important to examine their various societal effects. In particular, reports like these are becoming increasingly beneficial with regard to improving public safeguards against crime.
Crime by the Numbers
The HLN reporting describes a police presence typical in its size and scope when compared with that of events on a similar scale. Specifically, this includes 26 police zones, entry point inspections, traffic control, and onsite surveillance. Even though tragedy struck during weekend one, it appears security measures remained consistent. Therefore, one can assume no extraordinary or deliberate actions are contributing to the report’s findings.
The crime report lists 460 drug-related arrests of attendees. That number omits arrests of 61 dealers, or individuals possessing higher quantities of substances. Evidence points to the Euro as being the currency of choice with its total seizure reaching 53,595 EUR. That amount far surpasses the next closest tally of 890 British Pounds. Additionally, ecstasy appears to dominate in demand if the 2,510 pill confiscations are any indication. MDMA and cocaine followed with seizure totals of 848-grams and 427-grams, respectively.
According to the report, theft was the other most prevalent crime at Tomorrowland. With a cumulative 410-incident, two-weekend count, that’s fairly obvious. Of those, 300 involved stolen mobile phones. Interestingly, the report indicates 315 of the total thefts taking place over the first weekend. This includes a brazen attempt by suspects utilizing pepper spray to flee apprehension. Surely a relatively meager 95 weekend-two reports are a consequence of the heightened awareness of the attendees.
Outside of the big two, the report mentions 80 other incidents resulting in arrests. The majority of these occurrences include attempts to sneak into the event (66). Despite having the lowest number of occurrences, the most shocking revelation is the low reports of violence-related arrests. Three assaults and one attempted rape bring the total to four. While any at all are regrettable, it is remarkably low for an event which draws hundreds of thousands of people.
Implications For Tomorrowland
Without a clearly stated agenda, it’s impossible to determine how the Antwerp public prosecutor will use this information. Also, consider that some of the data is consistent with that in the reports from previous years. Rather than speculate however, maybe we should appreciate the objectivity. The report’s main purpose is to inform the public, a common denominator nestling deep within any possible opinion. After all, an informed public is the most powerful tool we have for protection from crime.