Crime figures have fallen in Germany, and police solved a record-breaking number of crimes in 2010. Interior Minister Hans-Peter Friedrich is delighted, yet an alarming rise in Internet crime has tarnished the good news.
Police remain concerned, despite an overall drop in crime
Interior Minister Hans-Peter Friedrich has described the reduced number of crimes in Germany last year as an "excellent record for police officers."
As he officially unveiled Germany's 2010 crime statistics on Friday, Friedrich confirmed that a total of 5.93 million criminal acts were committed last year, down 2 percent from the year before.
According to the Interior Ministry, it's the first time the figure has fallen below 6 million since the country was reunified in 1991 and is the lowest crime level since records began.
Juvenile crime levels dropped by 6.9 percent, with violent youth crime among 14-18-years-olds falling by 9.9 percent. This figure far exceeded the average 3.5 percent drop in violent crime.
More crimes solved
But a reduction in crime levels wasn't the only success story. The rate of crimes solved was also found to have reached a record high of 56 percent, up from 55.6 percent.
Friedrich hailed police for their efforts
Nevertheless, following a series of high-profile brutal attacks in underground metro stations in Berlin and Munich, Friedrich stressed that the fight against crime is ongoing.
"Between 1993 and 2008 youth violent crime doubled, so the drop seen in the last two years is coming down from a high level," he said in a statement.
Moreover, the police crime statistics for 2010 only take into account the cases that were reported or registered by the police, serving as a further warning against complacency.
Rising Internet crime
While overall crime levels may have dropped, Internet crime was shown to be on the rise in Germany. The number of cases of Internet crime climbed 8.1 percent in 2010, with around 224,000 reported cases. This figure represented more than 80 percent of all registered cases of fraud.
The number of homes broken into in 2010 was also up by 6.6 percent. Bernhard Witthaut, the head of Germany's police union, said the increase in domestic burglary and computer crime was "alarming".
"Only with a greater police involvement and pressure can we reverse this startling trend," said Witthaut.
Author: Charlotte Chelsom-Pill, Mark Hallam (dpa, AFP)
Editor: Martin Kuebler