German authorities have registered 8,605 right-wing extremist offenses in the first half of 2019, according to the figures released by the Interior Ministry.
Compared to the first half of 2018, an increase of 900 far-right crimes was recorded during the same period this year, the ministry said in response to a parliamentary inquiry. The number of violent crimes, however, remained almost the same.
Read more: Far-right violence rising sharply in Germany
By the end of June, neo-Nazis and other far-right groups had committed 8,605 crimes nationwide, including 363 violent crimes, the ministry told Petra Pau, the vice president of the German parliament, on Wednesday. At least 179 people have been injured and so far only 23 people out of 2,625 suspects have been arrested for these offenses.
According to German public broadcaster ARD, the actual number of such crimes could be significantly higher as state police officials often classify right-wing offenses as non-political in their initial reports.
ARD also reported that parliamentary figures did not include the murder of Walter Lübcke, the head of the Kassel regional government, as a far-right crime.
Stephen E., a 45-year-old suspect, initially confessed to killing Lübcke in June over his pro-migrant views, but retracted the confession shortly thereafter.
Before his killing, Lübcke reportedly received death threats for favoring Chancellor Angela Merkel's open migration policy.
Uptick in far-right violence
In June, Germany's domestic intelligence service recorded a small rise in the number of far-right extremists and the number of far-right violent crimes in 2018.
The 2018 report by the Germany's domestic security agency (BfV), presented in Berlin by Interior Minister Horst Seehofer and BfV head Thomas Haldenwang, found that there were 24,100 right-wing extremists in Germany — 100 more than in 2017 — of whom 12,700 were considered "violence-oriented."
While the overall number of right-wing extremist crimes dropped by 0.3% in 2018, the number of violent crimes committed by known right-wing extremists rose by 3.2% (from 1,054 to 1,088), according to the report.
That marks a new upturn after the number of crimes dipped in the wake of a high point during the "refugee crisis" of 2015 and 2016. There were also a total of six attempted homicides categorized as right-wing extremist crimes in 2018, the report found, up from four the year before.
shs/aw (epd, AFP)