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Germany

German Interior Ministry reports rise in politically motivated crime

The German Interior Ministry has released the latest figures pertaining to crime in Germany. The report shows an increase in break-ins and politically motivated crime.

On Wednesday, German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere and the head of the German states' Conference of the Ministers of the Interior, Roger Lewentz, presented the findings of the government's latest report on criminality in Germany. The statistics reflect the findings of 2014.

For the first time, the total number of crimes reported exceeded 6 million, with just under 6.1 million crimes registered. In 54.9 percent of the cases, charges were brought. This was a slight increase compared to 2013.

Violent crime was reduced by 2.1 percent compared to the previous period, but drug offenses rose by 9.2 percent. De Maiziere highlighted this rise plus a 1.8 percent increase in burglaries as well as an increase in fraud cases as particularly concerning.

"I am concerned about the rise in theft - burglaries, in particular – and the rise in fraud and drug cases," de Maiziere said in Berlin. "The increasing number of young suspects in drug crimes is distressing."

For burglaries, the success rate in bringing charges is notably low as well, lying at 15.9 percent.

"We want to improve the success rate," said Lewentz, the state premier of Rhineland-Palatinate. "To do so, the police need the help of citizens to recognize criminal patterns and effectively fight criminal groups. It's a good sign that 41.4 percent of break-ins fail in the attempt. Apparently people have taken our appeals seriously and invested in technical measures against break-ins."

Politically motivated attacks increasing

Another area reported in the crime statistics focused specifically on politically motivated crime. The Interior Ministry website statement said "the number of politically motivated violent crimes has reached a high-point since these statistics started being recorded in 2001."

In total, politically motivated crime increased by 3.3 percent, with violent crime rising by 18.3 percent. Politically motivated violent crime from right-wing extremists has increased by 22.9 percent compared to 2013, while similar crimes by left-wing extremists have stayed about the same. Politically motivated crimes against foreigners nearly tripled compared to 2013, and violent crimes in this category also increased.

"The numbers on politically motivated crimes are part of our early-warning system that enables conclusions to be drawn about the motivation of the suspects and show a threatening societal development," de Maiziere said. "In particular, xenophobic, anti-Semitic and racially motivated crimes and acts of violence have increased."

De Maiziere also noted the increase in violence targeting asylum seekers and refugee housing. In 2014, there were 203 attacks on refugee housing. Of these attacks, 175 have been attributed to right-wing criminals, compared to 58 in 2013.

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