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A smashed jewelry store window after break-in attempt
Theft in Germany was down to an all-time low in 2008Image: picture-alliance/dpa

German crime rate

June 15, 2009

The number of overall crimes in Germany fell last year and, for the first time in nine years, statistics recorded a decrease in the number of violent crimes as well.


Interior Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said on Monday in Berlin that overall reported crimes fell by 2.7 per cent to 6.1 million in 2008. And for the first time since 1999, he said, there were fewer crimes of violence last year: they were down by 3.2 percent to 211,000.

"That proves Germany is a safe country," Schaeuble said, noting that about 54 percent of all crimes are solved – a rate that has remained almost unchanged over the years.

According to the statistics, the number of thefts reached a record low last year; cases of thefts from vehicles were even down by more than 19 percent, while juvenile delinquency decreased by almost six percent. This development, Schaeuble said, is in part due to an increase in preventive measures. The Interior Minister conceded it was too soon for an all- clear, but said that “there is hope for a change in the trend.”

A positive development – but no trend

Ulrich Maeurer, interior minister of the tiny northern state of Bremen, presented the statistics alongside Schaeuble. He warned that there is still a high level of violence in the country, and stressed that he did not believe the new data marked a turnaround.

He pointed to the situation in cities with problematic urban areas. Here, the 2008 statistics record 72,904 cases of assault in public areas – an increase of 9.1 percent compared to 2007. Violence against police has risen as well – to a record 28.272 cases in 2008.

Frankfurt/Main and Hannover recorded the most crimes, Berlin was ranked sixth.

40 percent of all the cases registered by police are thefts, 14.5 percent fraud and scams, and 13.1 percent damage to property. In one out of three violent crimes solved by police, alcohol was involved.


Editor: Susan Houlton

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