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CRIME

Police blame gangs for burglary rise

The number of burglaries has risen by up to 30 percent in some German states. Police are holding professional gangs responsible for the increase.

Police blame gangs for burglary rise
Photo: DPA

In 2012 the number of domestic burglaries rose by 8.7 percent to 144,117 – a break-in every four minutes. And the 2013 figures which will be published in June are expected to show a further increase.

The 2013 numbers have already been released for some of Germany’s 16 states. They show a huge rise in Baden-Württemberg, with the number of burglaries increasing by more than 30 percent, to 11,300 cases last year.

In North Rhine-Westphalia, there were 54,953 break-ins, an increase of 1.5 percent and the highest figure since 1995.

Police in North Rhine-Westphalia said in their report that “mobile gangs were increasingly identified as suspects".

They are trying to fight back with more road checks including on motorways.

But criminologist Professor Thomas Feltes from Ruhr University Bochum said such actions were “symbolic gestures” from politicians.   

He described the typical burglar as “young, male and addicted to drugs” and often burgling the home of someone they knew.

Feltes also said there were far more burglaries than recorded in the figures.

Despite crime levels falling overall in Germany, the number of burglaries has been increasing since 2005.

But some states reported good news. In Schleswig-Holstein the number of break-ins fell slightly, although daytime burglaries rose by nine percent.

In Bremen the number fell by 12 percent. Interior Senator Ulrich Mäurer (SPD) put the sharp decline down to more homeowners and tenants seeking advice on how to secure their homes.

Berlin said its figure fell by six percent to 11,566 break-ins in 2013.

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GERMANY AND ISRAEL

Germany in talks on further payout for 1972 Olympics victims

The German government says it is in talks over further compensation for victims of the attack on the Munich Olympics, as the 50th anniversary of the atrocity approaches.

Germany in talks on further payout for 1972 Olympics victims

Ahead of the commemoration in September, relatives of the Israelis killed have indicated they are unhappy with what Germany is offering.

“Conversations based on trust are taking place with representatives of the victims’ families,” a German interior ministry spokesman told AFP when asked about the negotiations.

He did not specify who would benefit or how much money had been earmarked, saying only that any package would “again” be financed by the federal government, the state of Bavaria and the city of Munich.

On September 5th, 1972, eight gunmen broke into the Israeli team’s flat at the Olympic village, shooting dead two and taking nine Israelis hostage, threatening to kill them unless 232 Palestinian prisoners were released.

West German police responded with a bungled rescue operation in which all nine hostages were killed, along with five of the eight hostage-takers and a police officer.

An armed police officer in a tracksuit secures the block where terrorists  held Israeli hostages at the Olympic Village in Munich on 5th September 1972.

An armed police officer in a tracksuit secures the block where terrorists held Israeli hostages at the Olympic Village in Munich on 5th September 1972. Photo: picture alliance / dpa | Horst Ossingert

The spokeswoman for the victims’ families, Ankie Spitzer, told the German media group RND that the amount currently on the table was “insulting” and threatened a boycott of this year’s commemorations.

She said Berlin was offering a total of €10 million including around €4.5 million already provided in compensation between 1972 and 2002 — an amount she said did not correspond to international standards. 

“We are angry and disappointed,” said Spitzer, the widow of fencing coach Andre Spitzer who was killed in the attack. “We never wanted to talk publicly about money but now we are forced to.”

RND reported that the German and Israeli governments would like to see an accord by August 15th.

The interior ministry spokesman said that beyond compensation, Germany intended to use the anniversary for fresh “historical appraisal, remembrance and recognition”.

He said this would include the formation of a commission of German and Israeli historians to “comprehensively” establish what happened “from the perspective of the year 2022”.

This would lead to “an offer of further acts of acknowledgement of the relatives of the victims of the attack” and the “grave consequences” they suffered.

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