• Germany's news in English
Opinion: Crime among refugees
Even police can be idiots and incendiaries
Police voices have been increasingly loud since the sexual assaults in Cologne on New Year's Eve. Photo: DPA

Even police can be idiots and incendiaries

The Local · 20 Jan 2016, 12:13

Published: 20 Jan 2016 12:13 GMT+01:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Of course it doesn't immediately make you a far-right agitator or a Nazi to criticize the asylum policy of the federal government or the European Union. But, as so often, it's not about whether you criticize, but how you do it.

Current refugee numbers are making an ever-larger part of the German population utterly afraid. This fear is mostly vague and only rarely really justified – but we should not and must not ignore these concerns.

We have to confront these fears realistically and in terms of their content. To form your own opinion, you need transparent and neutral information. This is where the various media outlets play a decisive role.

But some are doing less and less to live up to this role, reporting in a one-sided, skewed way. It's becoming difficult for consumers to extract the real informational content. At the same time, untruths are being purposefully spread by the far-right, which spread quickly thanks to social media.

Crime happens in the best families

It's also unhelpful when police union representatives adopt the mantle of "speaking the truth", starting political fires by "finally saying out loud what the lying press is keeping from us."

Asylum seekers commit crimes too? What a surprise. This phenomenon is called ubiquity, and it happens in the best families. There are fights between different groups? How astonishing!

Refugee accommodation in the former Tempelhof airport in Berlin. Photo: DPA

If you were to squeeze 1,500 Franconians and 1,500 Upper Bavarians – i.e., two foreign cultures – into an empty hardware store without any kind of privacy and consign them to doing nothing for weeks, then within a very short time there would be tensions and fisticuffs.

There are some cases of sexual assaults? How surprising, if you pen up 80 women and girls together with 2,500 mostly young men in very tight quarters. That makes every trip to the shower a run through the gauntlet.

When does one become a criminal?

These questions are straight from the first semester of criminology: When does a person become a criminal? What are the causes of deviant behaviour? Anyone who works in the police should know the answers to these questions.

Police watch over the Reeperbahn party district in Hamburg in early January after reports of sexual assaults by foreigners there. Photo: DPA

So are some of these self-appointed police representatives really speaking the truth, or are they speaking ignorance? Or – even worse – speaking out of premeditated malice, because they themselves have already formed a judgement on the matter?

At the moment, there is an increase in crimes, especially of property crimes committed by asylum seekers, which is serious and which can't be rationalized away.

Criminals are all individual cases

But even here we must always deal with the individual cases. Most of the perpetrators are people from north and west Africa, from the Caucasus and the Balkans.

These people have not really fled from war, nor are they persecuted in any way. They've used the opportunity now to travel into Germany and commit crimes.

It's the job of detectives to investigate these perpetrators and to deliver the appropriate punishment with the help of the justice system. For that, we need sufficient personnel and material resources.

There are already enough blithering idiots who claim to be speaking the truth but are in fact pouring oil on the fire of the far right and giving a leg-up to the Alternative for Germany (AfD), National Democratic Party (NPD), Pegida and so on – because they haven't thought things through.

Story continues below…

They aren't helping us make a single inch of progress as a society. They aren't part of the solution, but part of the problem.


André Schulz has been President of the Federation of German Detectives (BDK) since 2011.

He is a detective chief superintendent in Hamburg and teaches at the BDK's Detective Academy on subjects including cybercrime, organized crime, terrorism, extremism, and drugs policy.

This article originally appeared in German in Die Welt.


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

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Today's headlines
Creepy clown scare spreads to Germany
Two of the clowns were apparently equipped with chainsaws. Photo: Pedro Pardo / AFP file picture

Police said Friday five incidents involving so-called scary clowns had occurred in two north German town, including one assailant who hit a man with a baseball bat, amid fears that Halloween could spark a rash of similar attacks.

Student fined for spying on women via their webcams
Photo: DPA

Student from Munich fined €1,000 for spying on 32 different computers, using their webcams to take photographs, or record their keyboard history.

This is how much startup geeks earn in Germany
Photo: DPA

A comprehensive new survey of 143 startup founders shows how much you are likely to be earning at a German startup, from entry level all the way up to sitting on the board.

Man dies after beating for peeing near Freiburg church
The Johannes Church in Freiburg. Photo Jörgens Mi/Wikipedia

A middle-aged man from southern Germany has died after being attacked by a group of men who took umbrage with the fact he was urinating in the vicinity of a church.

The Local List
Seven German celebrities with uncanny doppelgängers
Former Berlin mayor Klaus Wowereit and actor Alec Baldwin. Photo: DPA; Gage Skidmore, Wikimedia Commons

Check out these seven look-a-likes of well known German figures - we admit that some are more tenuous than others...

Israel seeks to buy three new German submarines: report
A Dolphin class submarine. Photo: DPA

Israel is seeking to buy three more advanced submarines from Germany at a combined price of €1.2 billion, an Israeli newspaper reported Friday.

Here’s where people live the longest in Germany
Photo: DPA

Germans down south seem to know the secret to a long life.

More Germans identify as LGBT than in rest of Europe
Photo: DPA

The percentage of the German population which identifies as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender is higher than anywhere else in Europe, according to a new study.

'Reichsbürger' pair attack police in Saxony-Anhalt
File photo: DPA.

A "Reichsbürger" and his wife attacked police officers on Thursday, just a day after another Reichsbürger fatally shot an officer in Bavaria.

Five things not to miss at the Frankfurt Book Fair
Photo: DPA

From consulting a book doctor to immersing yourself in an author's world with the help of virtual reality, here are five things not to miss at this week's Frankfurt Book Fair, the world's largest publishing event.

Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
10 things you never knew about socialist East Germany
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
How Germans fell in love with America's favourite squash
How I ditched London for Berlin and became a published author
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
12 clever German idioms that'll make you sound like a pro
23 fascinating facts you never knew about Berlin
9 unmissable events to check out in Germany this October
10 things you never knew about German reunification
10 things you're sure to notice after an Oktoberfest visit
Germany's 10 most Instagram-able places
15 pics that prove Germany is absolutely enchanting in autumn
10 German films you have to watch before you die
6 things about Munich that’ll stay with you forever
10 pieces of German slang you'll never learn in class
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
Eleven famous Germans with surnames that'll make your sides split
The best ways to get a visa as an American in Germany
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd