Twenty-one per cent of all crimes committed by foreigners in Austria are committed by asylum seekers – a number greatly disproportionate to the population of non-Austrian nationals.
The numbers are several percentage points higher than in 2015, before the massive migrant influx from the Middle East and North Africa, with over 11,000 criminal migrants reported in the first six months of 2016, reports Austrian paper Salzburg Nachrichten.
Reliable figures for the real number of asylum seekers in Austria are often hard to find. The government has long claimed that the asylum ceiling of 37,500 migrants has not been reached, though a new report prompted by the Freedom Party (FPÖ) revealed that illegal border crossings numbered well over 120,000.
The official number of criminal asylum seekers stands at 11,158 for the first six months of 2016. The number is just under half of the government’s official figures for the total number of asylum seekers who have entered the country this year.
The statistics, which were released by the Federal police on Tuesday, were requested by the FPÖ and show that most of the offenders, 4,208, are men under the age of 20 and 20 per cent of all offenders came from Afghanistan.
A breakdown of the various criminal offences shows a huge percentage of rapes, 35 per cent, and sexual assaults, 38.5 per cent, are committed by asylum seekers. Drug offences were high, notably the consumption of illegal drugs as well as trafficking and dealing.
Drug dealing on the streets of the Austrian capital of Vienna is, according to police, almost exclusively done by Nigerian migrants. Certain areas have become drug problem zones which the Vienna police have vowed to crack down on earlier this year.
Asylum seekers also accounted for a large number of cases of assault, often toward other asylum seekers. Mass brawls of migrants of different ethnic and religious backgrounds have become far more common in Austria, with areas like the Prater park in Vienna seeing repeated conflicts between migrants.
The statistics for foreign crime include not only asylum seekers, but anyone who either lives in Austria without permanent residency and even tourists. When millions of tourists are factored out, the number of asylum seekers committing crimes become vastly disproportionate to the total number of foreigners in the country.
When questioned about the statistics, Interior Minister Wolfgang Sobotka claimed that the numbers were too raw and that the data needed to be properly assessed to find out the real trends behind crime committed by foreigners.