Asylum Seeker Crime Up 54 Per Cent in Austria

Austrian Interior minister Wolfgang Sobotka attends a press conference after Austrian armed commandos arrested a man suspected of planning a 'terrorist' attack, on January 20, 2017 in Vienna. / AFP / APA / HANS PUNZ / Austria OUT (Photo credit should read HANS PUNZ/AFP/Getty Images)
HANS PUNZ/AFP/Getty Images

The Austrian Interior Ministry announced its latest crime statistics for 2016 and indicated a huge rise in suspects of migrant origin claiming the number had gone up by 54 per cent.

Interior Minister Wolfgang Sobotka listed the figures which showed a 54 per cent increase in the number of asylum seeker suspects in crimes and an overall increase in crime in general. The statistics show that in 2016 a total of 537,792 crimes were reported in Austria, up almost 20,000, or 3.8 per cent, from 2015 in which there were 517,870, Kronen Zeitung reports.

The origins of the suspects in migrant crimes are varied but according to the statistics, Afghan asylum seekers make up the largest number of criminals. The statistics show that 5,072 cases had involved an Afghan perpetrator. Afghans are then followed by asylum seekers from Algeria, Morocco, Nigeria, and Syria.

The total number of crimes where asylum seekers were suspects in 2016 was 22,289, while in 2015 the number had been only 14,458.

Migrants aged 14 to 17 were the most represented in the figures with 1,622 criminal complaints while those aged between 18 and 20 saw 1,208.

Theft accounted for the largest number of migrant crimes with 4,684 asylum seeker suspects followed by 3,551 accused of assault and 3,310 accused of drug-related offences. The police in the Austrian capital of Vienna began to crack down on street-level drug dealing last year and noted that the vast majority of street dealers were illegal migrants and asylum seekers from Nigeria.

Most of the migrant violence, according to Sobotka, stemmed from disputes amongst migrants themselves. He said many of the cases involved migrants fighting with each other, often armed with knives.  Two out of three of the cases tended to be disputes amongst relatives or those in a relationship and said that police had an incredible 83.9 per cent success rate at solving the crimes.

According to Sobotka, there has been some good news in the statistics. The total number of cases that could be solved by police had reached a 10-year high with almost 46 per cent of cases being solved.

Migrant crime in Austria has made headlines constantly over the last year. Last week, eight Iraqi asylum seekers were sentenced to between nine and 13 years in prison for the brutal gang rape of a German tourist.

Last year, Interior Minister Sobotka admitted that migrant sex attacks had increased by 133 per cent in 2016. The report, which was the subject of a parliamentary inquiry by the anti-mass migration Freedom Party (FPÖ), showed that while rape as a whole had gone down, the number of asylum seekers now accounted for almost one-fifth of all the reports.

 Follow Chris Tomlinson on Twitter at @TomlinsonCJ or email at


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