Nearly half of Germany’s women now feel unsafe walking about their local neighbourhood, a survey has revealed, with many taking precautions such as pepper spray with them when out at night.
The survey, by Emnid for Bild am Sonntag further found that 58 per cent of women believe that public places have become less safe in recent times, following news of events such as the mass sexual assault attacks on women in Cologne on New Year’s Eve last year.
Forty-eight per cent of the women surveyed said they have changed their habits to avoid certain areas in their neighbourhood, while 16 per cent said they carried pepper spray when venturing out after dark.
In response to the survey, Focus Online gathered anecdotal statements from women across Germany and found that some were asking male relatives to chaperone them at night, while others had taken to carrying their keys in closed fists in case of attack.
One woman, Kerstin, told the paper: “I no longer feel safe as a woman. Harassment, rapes, and raids are happening everywhere. I was particularly concerned by the case of the jogger Carolin [G.], who was killed. I run myself and I find it particularly disturbing that this happened during bright daylight.
“I feel very uncomfortable on my own and avoid travelling alone in the evening or at night. I always constantly carry pepper spray with me.”
Another, Natalie, said that she “narrowly” avoided being present in Cologne on the night of the attacks, but luckily opted not to go. “[S]ince then [I] have avoided groups in the dark,” she said.
She added: “Anyway, I’m not going anywhere in the dark alone. When I arrive by train at our small station, my father is always there to go with me through the solitary underpass. I dare not go alone!
“I ordered two canisters of pepper spray two months ago from Amazon. Two, so that I can be sure of having one in each of my winter jackets.
“It worries me very much that even the German state does not know who is here.”
The German media have been keen to stress that violent attacks are becoming less common, however, statistics show that they are actually on the rise.
214,600 crimes were committed by immigrants in Germany in 2016, “several thousand more than in 2015”, according to the German edition of the Huffington Post. The media outlet went on to claim that, as 213,000 asylum seekers registered in Germany during the same period, overall the de facto rise in crime constitutes a net fall.
However, in November the German Federal Police admitted that there had been a massive 31.6 per cent increase in crime in 2016 over the previous year’s figures, a jump which they said was down to Chancellor Merkel’s open door policy on migration.