Monday, April 12, 2010

Armed Robbery, 1 Dead, 2 Injured

There are so many things I've been wanting to write about lately, and I will get to them. First, though, I have to address something that happened today very close to where I live in Brussels.

I live on Rue Saint Boniface, which is a very "up-and-coming" neighborhood with lots of restaurants, cafes, bars, etc. It also blends with the Matonge, which is the Congolese quarter. Many of the buildings are beautiful and boast Art Nouveau architecture. This area is also a real mixing pot of all different cultures, inhabited by immigrants, expats and even a few Belgians! It may have its faults, but I have really enjoyed living in such a dynamic and lively place.

Today, though, something happened that is making me consider moving to another area. I was just finishing lunch with Miguel, our friend Laura had just left with her little dog, Wilson, in tow. It was nice and sunny outside, so we had the window open. That's when we started hearing sirens. More and more sirens, prompting us to look out the window. Traffic was being re-directed, there were lots of police cars and some ambulances, then a helicopter circling. Miguel was about to go back to work, so he said he would check it out and let me know.

About 10 minutes later he called to tell me someone had been shot outside the jewelry store on Chausee de Wavre (just about a block from our apartment). He said they were blocking everything off and treating someone on the street, someone may have died. I went down to find the situation unchanged, I couldn't see much, but the helicopter continued to circle ominously.

I later came across this article (which can be translated via Google translate).

I'm still rather shocked about this. I know violence happens in cities, as do robberies, drug use, etc., but to have a violent crime happen just a stone's throw from my front door makes me uneasy to say the least.

UPDATE Both robbers in the Chausse de Wavre case were apprehended. Now, Brussels is dealing with another jewelry store robbery in Schaerbeek in which one of the assailants was killed and the other wounded by the shop owner. There was also a fatal shooting on the ring road as well as riots in Saint-Gilles.


  1. I remember during one previous visit to Brussels, 18 months ago, we walked up Chaussee De Wavre out of curiosity. I normally feel pretty safe in Brussels but not this area. Nearby Longue Vie is, according to Derek Blyth's "Live and Work In Brussels", the most dangerous street in Brussels. The romantic ideal of 'up-and-coming area' doesn't really work in Brussels - they're either grim or not. I'd move - just 1km south and you are near Flagey, relatively safer and less tense or Etterbeek. - ps I hope to move over myself from London soon....maybe not St Gilles/East Ixelles though and certainly and absolutely not St Josse, South Schaarbeek or Molenbeek. Anyway, good luck - the blog is v.good by the way :-)

  2. Oops - maybe not Flagey itself then! (After reading your other crime blog above).