Some 116,540 break-ins were recorded in 2017, a massive 23 percent drop on 2016 when 151,265 such crimes were recorded. It also marked the second year in a row that break-ins decreased.
The drop in the number of burglaries brought the number down to a size last seen in 2010 and marked a significant reduction from 2015 when a record 167,136 break-ins were recorded in Germany.
A steady increase in burglaries over several years had piled pressure on the federal government to find a solution. The last government brought in tougher sentencing in summer 2017, increasing the minimum jail term for committing a burglary in a private home from six months to a year.
Police say that preventative measures taken by homeowners have also had a positive effect of dampening the level of break-ins. A public information drive by the police has led to people installing better windows and security systems in their homes.
In North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) for example, 46 percent of registered break-ins failed, meaning that the robbers failed to make it into the house or did not steal anything.
“That is proof that even more citizens are seeking advice on how to protect their four walls,” said Herbert Reul, interior minister in NRW.
The numbers are based on DPA calculations on the basis of criminal statistics provided by the individual federal states. The interior ministry will officially release the national crime statistics from 2017 in May.
Criminologists meanwhile caution that one should not read too much into the figures, as they only represent recorded crime.
“One can only explain increases and decreases in burglaries by looking at the level of unrecorded crime,” Thomas Feltes, a criminologist at the Ruhr University said.