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Crime in Germany drops 10 percent: Report

April 22, 2018

Crimes of almost every nature dropped across Germany in 2017, according to police statistics. But there were a few categories in which rates increased.

German police cars
Image: Imago/Deutzmann

The number of crimes reported in Germany fell by almost 10 percent in 2017, according to police statistics published by the Welt am Sonntag newspaper.

It is reportedly the sharpest year-on-year drop in over 25 years, with officials saying "we have not recorded such a large decline" since 1993.

Read more: German police launch crackdown on human trafficking, organized crime

Fighting burglary: Police under pressure

Breakdown of crimes

The report found:

  • There were 5.76 million crimes reported in 2017, 9.6 percent fewer than in 2016.
  • About one-third of all crimes were theft offenses, dropping by 11.8 percent.
  • Shoplifting decreased by 6.6 percent, to 353,384 cases, and pickpocketing by 22.7 percent, to 127,376.
  • 33,263 cars and 300,006 bicycles were stolen — down 8.6 and 9.8 percent, respectively.
  • Burglaries fell 23 percent, to 116,540 cases, although 80 percent of burglaries are still not solved.
  • Violent crime declined by 2.4 percent, to 188,946 cases, of which 137,058 involved serious bodily injury.
  • Murders increased by 3.2 percent, to 785 cases.
  • Drug offenses rose 9.2 percent, to 330,580 cases.
  • Child pornography cases rose 14.5 percent, to 6,512 cases.
  • The number of non-German suspects fell 22.8 percent, to 736,265.

Read more: German states look to reintegration to reduce migrant crime

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Less people, less crime

The chairman of the German Police Officers' Union, Oliver Malchow, told Welt am Sonntag to avoid "premature conclusions regarding the security situation."

He suggested that part of the decrease was related to the fact that fewer asylum seekers came to Germany last year compared to the year before. But Malchow isn't suggesting migrants are more prone to commit crime.

Instead, the figures show that more crimes are committed when there are more people in the country. Studies have shown that Syrian and Iraqi refugees tend to commit fewer crimes because they don't want to spoil their chances of obtaining legal permission to stay in Germany. 

Read more: Are refugees more criminal than the average German citizen?

Public opinion: The drop in crime numbers follows a poll that found about half of Germans believe there are places in the country so lawless that even police will not venture into them. Migrants are often blamed for increased crime rates, despite the Federal Criminal Police's reporting that foreigners are less likely than native-born Germans to commit every category of crime.

Official release: Federal Interior Minister Horst Seehofer will present the numbers at the Conference of Interior Ministers on May 8.

Read more: Amid controversy, Germany's police struggle to find recruits

aw/jlw (dpa, AFP, Reuters)