Migrants Make Up Nearly Six in Ten Violent Crime Suspects in Germany

11 October 2023, Brandenburg, Forst: Illegal migrants are guarded by an officer of the Fed
Patrick Pleul/picture alliance via Getty Images

Nearly six in ten suspects in violent crime cases in Germany were committed by foreign migrants, according to federal police crime statistics released this week, sparking debate over the country’s open-door immigration system.

Non-German foreigners make up a disproportionate number of suspected criminals and nearly 60 per cent of violent crime suspects, despite making up just 14.6 per cent of the population, statistics released by the Federal Criminal Police Office on Tuesday revealed.

According to the data, foreigners without a German passport represented 111,517 suspects alleged of violent crimes out of the total 190,605 suspects for the country as a whole, or 58.5 per cent, broadcaster NTV reports.

The figures also showed that while the number of suspected German violent offenders rose by 2.2 per cent over the previous year, the number of non-German suspected violent offenders increased by 14.5 per cent, contributing to an overall rise of 8.6 per cent in violent crime reports over the previous year and the highest level since 2007.

Reports of theft also saw an increase of 10.7 per cent over the previous year, with non-Germans accounting for 187,000 out of the total 424,000 suspected thieves.

Excluding immigration crimes, the number of non-Germans suspected of any crime rose by 17.8 per cent in 2023 to 923,269 suspects, representing nearly half of the 2.25 million total suspected criminals last year.

The German broadcaster said that sociologists and criminologists within the country noted that there can be “distorted images from the simple division into German and non-German criminals.”

Arguments have also been put forward as to the possible explanations for the apparent higher criminality among foreigners within the country, such as the fact that most immigrants in the country are young men — despite many claiming to be refugees — and young men are the most likely to commit crimes of any group.

The broadcaster also posited that foreigners often experienced violence in their home countries before fleeing to Germany which may therefore “lower the threshold for using violence”.

The figures are also lacking in that they do not represent the number of people convicted of crimes, but merely those suspected of crimes. However, the dataset also provides an incomplete picture of the demographic breakdown of criminality in that it did not make a distinction for foreigners who obtained German citizenship or those with a migration background, meaning that at least one parent was foreign-born.

Regardless of the reasons for the vast disparity or the shortcomings of the data, the figures have sparked a national debate within Germany about the government’s mass migration policies, which have radically transformed the country over the past decade since former Chancellor Angela Merkel opened the gates sparking the European Migrant Crisis in 2015.

Andrea Lindholz, a member of the Bundestag parliament for the centre-right Christian Social Union (CSU) party said that rising crime in Germany “has to do with migration,” adding:  “We need to manage migration better, we need to know who is coming to our country.”

Germany, Lindholz said, is reaching its “limit” in its “ability to integrate” migrants, saying that integration comes with cost that  “realistically speaking, we don’t have.”

Following the release of the figures, Interior Minister Nancy Faeser vowed that the government would seek deport migrant criminals more quickly, saying: “Anyone who does not follow the rules must go.” Faeser also admitted that the dire situation facing Germany should be discussed “without fear or resentment”.

However, Faeser, herself has been a leading figure in trying to criminalise the most prominent anti-mass migration party in the country, the right-wing populist Alternative for Germany (AfD), which has surpassed Faeser’s own Social Democrat Party (SPD) in public support over the past year.

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