Number of break-ins hits 16-year high

The number of burglaries has once again risen in Germany. Police figures released on Monday show an estimated 2 percent increase in the number of break-ins nationwide.

Number of break-ins hits 16-year high
Photo: DPA

The rise in burglaries in 2014 made it the eighth year in succession in which incidence of the crime has gone up.

In total 152,000 incidents were reported to the police during the year, the highest level in the last 16 years.

In ten of Germany's 16 federal states, the number of burglaries rose in comparison with 2013, according to statistics provided by individual states.

The highest increase came in Bavaria, where incidence of the crime rose by 30 percent. In both Baden-Württemberg and Saarland, the burglary rate rose by over 20 percent.

“The good news is that 40 percent of burgalries fail during the attempt,” Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière of the Christian Democrats (CDU) told Bild. “That shows that securing our properties helps.”

The interior minister suggested he would support material incentives whereby investment in anti-burglary systems would be deducted against tax.

Still, the increase of 2 percent was less than that in 2013 when the number of burglaries rose by 4 percent over the previous year.

But there was good news from six states.

Thuringia showed a 17.2 percent decrease in the rate of burglary.

Lower Saxony and North Rhine-Westphalia also showed smaller decreases in the rate of the crime (6.9 and 3.9 percent respectively.)

The Bavarian Interior Ministry released a statement saying: “We have seen a sharp increase in the rate of burglary, but it comes from a comparatively low base level.”

The rate of 65 burglaries per 100,000 residents in 2014 is a third of the national rate, the statement said.

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Driver in Bavaria gets €5,000 fine for giving the finger to speed camera

A driver in Passau has been hit with a €5,000 fine because he was caught by traffic police giving the middle finger.

Driver in Bavaria gets €5,000 fine for giving the finger to speed camera

The district court of Passau sentenced the 53-year-old motorist to the fine after he was caught making the rude gesture in the direction of the speedometer last August on the A3 near the Donautal Ost service area, reported German media. 

The man was not caught speeding, however. According to traffic police who were in the speed camera vehicle at the time, another driver who had overtaken the 53-year-old was over the speed limit. 

When analysing the photo, the officers discovered the slower driver’s middle finger gesture and filed a criminal complaint.

The driver initially filed an objection against a penalty order, and the case dragged on for several months. However, he then accepted the complaint. He was sentenced to 50 ‘unit fines’ of €100 on two counts of insulting behaviour, amounting to €5,000.

READ ALSO: The German rules of the road that are hard to get your head around

In a letter to police, the man said he regretted the incident and apologised. 

Police said it was “not a petty offence”, and that the sentence could have been “even more drastic”.

People who give insults while driving can face a prison sentences of up to a year.

“Depending on the nature and manner of the incident or in the case of persons with a previous conviction, even a custodial sentence without parole may be considered for an insult,” police in Passau said. 

What does the law say?

Showing the middle finger to another road user in road traffic is an offence in Germany under Section 185 of the Criminal Code (StGB). It’s punishable by a prison sentence of up to one year or a fine.

People can file a complaint if someone shows them the middle finger in road traffic, but it usually only has a chance of success if witnesses can prove that it happened.

As well as the middle finger, it can also be an offence to verbally insult someone. 

READ ALSO: The German road signs that confuse foreigners