Austria’s “Soko Ost” Learns from the FBI

News Brief: Dec. 2009/Jan. 2010

The Austrian police can learn a lot from New York City cops, according to Franz Lang, director of the Federal Criminal Police (Bundeskriminalamt). Following a visit to the United States, Lang told Austrian daily Die Presse:

“They are struggling with similar problems as the police in the eastern part of Austria.” As here, East Coast criminals in the U.S. often come from Eastern Europe and the Caucasus, and use many of the same methods.

The New Yorkers had set up a special investigation team similar to Austria’s “Soko Ost”  (“Special Investigation Team East”), and reported that crime prevention was often most effective when teaming up officers with different areas of responsibility.

Lang intends to introduce some of these methods to Austria’s police. At the moment, the Federal Armed Forces (Bundesheer) are supporting the police in eastern border areas, with 1,500 soldiers positioned in affected regions in Burgenland and in Lower Austria. According to a survey conducted by the Ministry of the Interior, 86% of Burgenland’s residents say the support makes them feel safer, and would like it to continue.

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