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Far-right violence up almost half

May 23, 2016

The German government says political violence reached a new high in 2015 as the country saw a massive influx of migrants. German ministers have previously promised to crack down on hate crimes.

Far-right demonstration in Cologne
Image: picture-alliance/AP Photo/M. Meissner

Violent, politically-motivated crime in Germany with a right-wing motive rose more than 40 percent last year, according to annual crime statistics released Monday. Authorities recorded 1,485 such crimes in 2015, up from 1,029 the previous year, reported The Associated Press.

Politically motivated crimes by members of hard-left and right groups rose almost 20 percent, the data revealed, with almost 40,000 criminal reports made.

Monday's statistics revealed the highest figures since 2001, when the German government began publishing separate statistics about politically motivated crime.

German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere said the sharp rise was "threatening social development" in the country.

Offenses targeting homes for asylum seekers more than quadrupled to 923, with acts of violence against those homes increasing to 177 from 26 the previous year.

Twenty politically-motivated attempted homicides were committed, which included attacks on several refugee accommodation centers. Previously, Germany's police chief has spoken of his fears of rising anti-refugee violence.

Crime up generally

Germany saw more than 1.1 million refugees claim asylum in 2015, more than any other European country. While many Germans have welcomed those fleeing war and persecution, there has been strong opposition from a vocal minority, and concerns over increasing anti-foreigner violence.

Overturned police vehicle
Violent crimes by the far-right have risen since the migrant crisisImage: Reuters/Wolfgang Rattay

The data also revealed that 402,741 people foreigners failed to register with authorities last year, more than doubling from 156,396 the previous year.

The Interior Ministry said there was an even bigger increase in the broader category of "hate crimes," which includes offenses that are of a racist or anti-Semitic nature or that target people because of their religion. They rose 77 percent to 10,373 from 5,858 the previous year.

Complaints of rape and sexual assault have fallen, along with the number of sexual offenses against children.

In total, more than 6.3 million crimes of all types were reported. Germany remains a comparatively safe country, but de Maiziere said there were alarming trends in crimes by foreigners and burglaries.

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mm/rc (AP, dpa, KNA)