The number of attacks on refugee accommodations has risen by almost a third in the first 10 months of 2016. But attacks this year are trending down, according to data from Germany's Federal Criminal Police Office.
Following a freedom of information request by the regional daily "Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung," Germany's Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA) revealed that it has recorded 832 crimes against asylum-seeker accommodations between January and October 2016. It recorded 637 such crimes in the same period for 2015.
However, statistics for 2016 showed a downward trend in attacks, with the numbers dropping off since the beginning of the year. Should the trend of recent months continue, the total number is forecast to be less than the 1,031 recorded in 2015.
In 772 of the cases, about 93 percent, were committed by right-wing extremists, and 330 of the cases, about 40 percent of the total, involved property damage, according to statistics released by the BKA.
Other recorded offenses included distributing racist propaganda (188 cases), acts of violence (144), arson (63) and violations of German explosives laws (12).
Refugees and asylum-seeker accommodations have frequently been the target for xenophobic hate crimes in Germany. Among the most notorious incidents was the February attack in the eastern German town of Bautzen, where onlookers applauded and chanted right-wing slogans as a refugee home was set on fire. Bautzen has become a flashpoint for much of the anti-refugee sentiment and violence felt across Germany.
Backlash against Merkel's refugee policy
Extremists have lashed out at German Chancellor Angela Merkel's decision last year to allow 890,000 refugees and asylum-seekers into the country. In 2015, attacks on refugee housing increased five-fold. Most of last year's attacks occurring in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, the state which is home to the most refugees and the most Germans, followed by the eastern German state of Saxony.
This year, Germany expects to receive fewer than 300,000 refugees, the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF) said on Saturday. However, BAMF head Frank-Jürgen Wiese told a local broadcaster that this forecast will only hold if the European Union's agreement on refugees with Turkey, as well as further deals with Italy and Greece, remain effective.
On Thursday, Turkey threatened to end the EU migration deal unless visa-free travel is granted to Turkish citizens by the end of this year.
dm/sms (dpa, KNA)