Latest data suggests Germany’s crime numbers were down 10-percent since 2017, with overall figures showing it being the lowest since 1992. Despite this, however, concerns still brew over the number of hate crimes that occur in the country.
The numbers were courtesy of Interior Minister Horst Seehofer, who presented the reports himself for the first time since he stepped in office. According to the report, 5.76-million crimes were reported to have occurred in Germany in 2017. This is 5-percent lower than the previous year, and the lowest since 1992. Seehofer added that if these numbers are taken with the population put to perspective, then this has been the lowest crime rate Germany had since the last 30 years.
Focus on political, migrant attacks, crimes
Perhaps an interesting thing of note is how the list separates offenses committed by German and non-German nationals. Seehofer pointed out that incidents committed by migrants have dropped by as much as 23-percent (700,000 compared to 950,000), although this might be due to fewer illegal immigrants settling and arriving in Germany.
On a related note, crimes that are said to be politically-motivated have also fallen for the first time since 2014 and was just 0.7-percent of total incidents in the report. Attacks on refugee and asylum shelters also dropped by a whopping 69-percent.
Unfortunately, there appears to be a 2.5-percent increase when it comes to attacks that are anti-Semitic in nature. Seehofer acknowledge the increase of “imported anti-Semitic crimes,” which describes attacks Muslim migrants commit towards Jews. Seehofer did emphasize that a huge majority of these incidents were caused by right-wing extremists.
Sound the all-clear? Not just yet
Unfortunately, despite the lower crime rates, Seehofer did acknowledge that there still remains a few concerns that need to be addressed in terms of overall crime in Germany. Lower crime rates do not necessarily mean a positive public opinion over safety – and public wariness over things such as refugee influx in the country and an increase in terrorism attacks have not given the public any reason to feel their safest just yet.
In fact, Seehofer’s figures showed that 44-percent of the population do in fact feel less secure in 2018 than they have a few years ago. Seehofer did admit that the “all-clear” cannot be sounded today, given the number of things that should be done to ensure total public safety.
Andre Schulz of the Federation of German Police Officers however said that there’s no bearing between actual safety in Germany compared to German public sentiment, stating that this is a “paradox.”
This can be interesting for some, given that while Germany is considered one of the world’s safest countries, fear of crime isn’t exactly removed just yet.
Yet Pfeiffer of the Criminological Research Institute said media is partly to blame for the aggravated feelings of insecurity, as after all crimes are still reported in television, and if not, crime-centric television and movies can still be shown in the household. Pfeiffer said this might be the reason why some still feel relatively anxious despite the actual lowered numbers.
Another potential source of insecurity is the influx of foreigners, Pfeiffer explained. He said something called “Heimat” or emotional security can be threatened because of the arrival of new faces. This is something ingrained into humans since then, as the arrival of foreigners were perceived as threats in ancient times.
In the case of Germany, concerns can be particularly geared towards the fact that “immigrants” do include quite a number of people, such as contingent refugees in the country as per international aid programs, people under subsidiary protection, those in Germany illegally, those “tolerated” in the country because they can’t be deported, and asylum seekers. This may also explain the variance in crimes committed by suspects with immigrant backgrounds, such as burglary or robbery, aggravated assault and battery, sexual assault and rate, and pickpocketing.
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