• Germany's news in English
 
app_header_v3
New Year's Eve sexual assaults
Huge gulf in crime rates among migrant groups
A newly formed "citizens' patrol" in Düsseldorf. Photo: DPA

Huge gulf in crime rates among migrant groups

AFP/The Local · 13 Jan 2016, 12:18

Published: 13 Jan 2016 12:18 GMT+01:00

After the mass sexual attacks in Cologne and other cities which eyewitnesses and police have said were carried out by men of “north African appearance” migrants from the Maghreb region have come under the spotlight.

Currently, 13 of the 19 people police are currently investigating in relation to the Cologne attacks come from the Maghreb - an area encompassing Libya, Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco.

And police figures seem to show that Maghrebi migrants are considerably more likely to commit crime than people from other regions, Spiegel Online reports.

A study begun by Cologne police in 2014 which looked at which refugees committed a crime within a year of their arrival showed stark variations from between different countries of origin.

Whereas only 0.5 percent of Syrians were suspected of a crime within 12 months of their arrival, 40 percent of those coming from the Maghreb got into trouble with police.

Only asylum seekers from the Balkan region were as likely to have broken the law in equivalent numbers.

The head of one refugee reception centre in the region told Spiegel that “North Africans often come to our attention for the wrong reasons here. They drink a alcohol excessively and are often under the influence of strong medication.”

A crime every 3.5 hours

An unpublished study by police in Düsseldorf seen by Spiegel Online, meanwhile, shows that there are over 2,200 criminals from the north African region active in the Rhineland city.

The Düsseldorf statistics also show that north Africans commit a crime on average every 3.5 hours in the city.

This criminality commonly comes in the form of theft, robbery, bodily harm and threats.

The report says that the situation is so bad that many residents of the city have lost confidence in their ability to feel safe in public spaces.

Residents in the city have now taken to forming "citizens' patrol" groups to "protect our women", which police are concerned that far-right groups could use to try and enact racist, vigilante justice.

Deportations tricky

But capturing criminals who arrive in the country as asylum seekers is far from straightforward.

Because authorities only take asylum seekers’ fingerprints around six months after they arrive in the country, criminals can change their identity at will, Spiegel says.

The man shot by police in Paris last week after he attacked a police station, also allegedly from North Africa, lived under seven different pseudonyms in Germany before travelling to France.

Even when someone can be convicted of a crime serious enough for warrant ejection, deportations are also “almost impossible due to a lack of cooperation from their home countries,” the Cologne police report states.

Chancellor Angela Merkel with Algerian Prime Minister Abdelmalek Sellal. Photo: DPA

Story continues below…

To this end Chancellor Angela Merkel on Tuesday asked for Algeria's help in speeding up the repatriation of rejected Algerian asylum seekers to their country of origin.

Germany and Algeria have in place a mutual agreement governing expulsions of their citizens, "but we have to ensure that it works properly," said Merkel at a press conference with visiting Algerian Prime Minister Abdelmalek Sellal.

German authorities have been calling for greater efficiency in deportation procedures, and the issue has gained urgency given the rising numbers of Algerians arriving in recent months with thousands of migrants seeking asylum.

Sellal however sounded a note of caution, saying before any deportations, "we have to ensure that they really are Algerians".

If Algerians were indeed among those guilty of participating in the mob violence in Cologne, then "I can assure you that for us, Algeria, as a country and as a people, that is unacceptable," he said.

Berlin is mulling whether to classify Algeria and Morocco as safe countries of origin - a category which would mean its citizens were unlikely to qualify for asylum.

Merkel said Friday that no such decision had yet been taken on the issue, but that citizens of both nations stood less chance of winning asylum in Germany than those from war-torn countries like Syria and Iraq.

For more news from Germany, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

AFP/The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Today's headlines
Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
File photo: DPA

When a man swimming naked in a Bavarian lake felt a strange pain in his nether regions, he looked up to see a fisherman on the shore. "Don’t pull!" he shouted.

Study finds rival Rhineland beers 'actually taste the same'
Left: Altbier. Right: Kölsch. Or can you even tell? Photos: DPA.

Cologne and Düsseldorf have a long established rivalry, not least over who has the better home brew. So the results of a new study might be more than they can swallow.

Eastern Europe pushes Germany for joint EU army
Angela Merkel (l), Beata Szydlo and Victor Orban. Photo: DPA

Eastern EU countries on Friday pushed for the bloc to create a joint army as they met with Germany for talks on sketching Europe's post-Brexit future.

Merkel’s party mate wants to get rid of all Karl Marx streets
Karl Marx and one of the roadways in Berlin named for him. Photos: Wikimedia Commons, Nicor

Hundreds of streets are named after the founder of communism, but this conservative politician wants to give Marx the boot.

State elections
6 reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
Photo: DPA

With state elections around the corner, The Local looks at the poor side of Germany's "poor but sexy" capital city.

Upstarts RB Leipzig plan to go right to top of Bundesliga
RB Leipzig players celebrate scoring against Dynamo Dresden. Photo: DPA

RB Leipzig make their Bundesliga debut on Sunday, but the East German outfit, sponsored by energy drinks manufacturer Red Bull, are already far from popular in Germany's top-flight.

Poland criticizes Germany’s 'self-serving' foreign policy
Witold Waszczykowski. Photo: DPA

The Polish foreign minister has said that Germany all too often follows its own interests at the expense of its partners, as Chancellor Angela Merkel prepares to visit Warsaw.

Vast majority of Germans in favour of burqa ban: poll
Women wearing niqab veils in Saudi Arabia. Photo: DPA.

A survey found that the vast majority of respondents were in favour of Germany passing a ban on the full-body veil sometimes worn by Muslim women.

Czech police detain driver for harassing Merkel's motorcade
Angela Merkel. File photo: DPA

Czech police arrested a man on Thursday for attempting to drive into the motorcade of visiting German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Prague, they said.

Teacher convicted for holding kids back after class
Photo: DPA

A music teacher from North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) has been found guilty of "holding people against their will" after he made some naughty stay kids back after class.

Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Gallery
Germany's 17 Olympic gold medals in pictures
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
Culture
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Rhineland
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Culture
Eleven famous Germans with surnames that'll make your sides split
Sponsored Article
Life in Jordan: 'Undiscovered treasure'
Lifestyle
The best ways to get a visa as an American in Germany
14 facts you never knew about the Brandenburg Gate
Society
Ten times Germans proved they really, really love beer
Sponsored Article
Why Jordan is the ‘Different’ East
Lifestyle
What's on in Germany: events for August 2016
Sponsored Article
Five things Americans should know about voting abroad
National
Six things you need to know when moving to Germany
Travel
These 10 little-known German towns are a must see
Sponsored Article
Jordan Pass: your ticket to the experience of a lifetime
International
German scientists prove birds can sleep while flying
Sponsored Article
Jordan: where history meets adventure
Technology
London v. Berlin: Which is better for startups?
Lifestyle
13 mortifying mistakes German learners always make
Sponsored Article
6 reasons expats use TransferWise to send money
Travel
Enter if you dare: Berlin's best abandoned haunts
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Lifestyle
10 rookie errors all Brits make when they arrive in Germany
Sponsored Article
Five things Americans should know about voting abroad
National
How to get German citizenship (or just stay forever)
Sponsored Article
Jordan: where history meets adventure
Technology
Brexit will turn Berlin into 'Europe’s startup capital'
Sponsored Article
6 reasons expats use TransferWise to send money
Travel
Six soothing day trips to escape the bustle of Berlin
International
'Germany needs to make UK come to its senses'
Features
Six odd things Germans do in the summer
Features
How two gay dads cut through German red tape to start a family
8,546
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd