Germany sees drastic rise in racist crime

Crime figures released by the Interior Ministry on Wednesday showed sharp rises in xenophobic crimes in 2014, with anti-Semitism and attacks on refugee homes causing particular alarm.

Germany sees drastic rise in racist crime
A refugee home was burned down in April 2015. Photo: DPA

The figures presented by Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière in Berlin showed that 203 attacks took place against refugee homes in 2014, up from 58 in 2013. Far right groups have been behind the vast majority (175) of these attacks.

Last year also saw a significant increase in anti-Semitic crime. The number of reported incidents rose to 1,596, a 25 percent increase on 2013.

“This development is worrying and must be stopped,” said De Maizière. “Germany is a peaceful and open country. We want to live here in an atmosphere of peace and mutual respect.”

The ministry's report came a day after German representatives admitted to a United Nations committee on racial discrimination that the country still had a long way to go to stamp out racism.

Politically motivated crime in general is on the rise, the figures showed. More than 3,300 cases of politically motivated violence were reported in 2014, a record since figures for this crime were first collected in 2001.

The total number of crimes reported to the police rose in 2014 to more than 6 million cases, a two percent increase on 2013.

The number of burglaries reported meanwhile hit a 16-year high. More than 150,000 incidents were reported to police in 2014, a 1.8 percent increase on the previous year.

“I am greatly concerned by the rise in crime,” said the interior minister. “Particularly worrying is the rise in burglary, but also crimes of deception and narcotics criminality which have once again increased.

But there was some good news in the statistics.

Sexual abuse of children fell back 2.4 percent.

Car theft and violent crime also decreased.


German man jailed for killing petrol station worker in mask row

A 50-year-old German man was jailed for life Tuesday for shooting dead a petrol station cashier because he was angry about being told to wear a mask while buying beer.

German man jailed for killing petrol station worker in mask row

The September 2021 murder in the western town of Idar-Oberstein shocked Germany, which saw a vocal anti-mask and anti-vaccine movement emerge in response to the government’s coronavirus restrictions.

The row started when 20-year-old student worker Alex W. asked the man to put on a mask inside the shop, as required in all German stores at the time.

After a brief argument, the man left.

The perpetrator – identified only as Mario N. – returned about an hour and a half later, this time wearing a mask. But as he bought his six-pack of beer to the till, he took off his mask and another argument ensued.

He then pulled out a revolver and shot the cashier in the head point-blank.

On Tuesday, the district court in Bad-Kreuznach convicted Mario N. of murder and unlawful possession of a firearm, and handed him a life sentence.

READ ALSO: Shock in Germany after cashier shot dead in Covid mask row

Under German law, people given a life sentence can usually seek parole after 15 years. His defence team had sought a sentence of manslaughter, rather than murder.

At the start of the trial, prosecutor Nicole Frohn told how Mario N. had felt increasingly angry about the measures imposed to curb the pandemic, seeing them as an infringement on his rights.

“Since he knew he couldn’t reach the politicians responsible, he decided to kill him (Alex W.),” she said.

Mario N. turned himself in to police the day after the shooting.

German has relaxed most of its coronavirus rules, although masks are still required in some settings, such as public transport.