Trump insists crime is rising in Germany, questioning official data

US President Donald Trump doubled down on Tuesday on the false assertion that immigration is driving up crime in Germany, casting doubt on the country's official statistics.

Trump insists crime is rising in Germany, questioning official data
Donald Trump speaking in Washington on Monday. Photo: DPA

“Crime in Germany is up 10% plus (officials do not want to report these crimes) since migrants were accepted,” Trump tweeted, a day after he claimed German people were “turning against their leadership” over immigration.

“Be smart America!” said the president, who is under mounting pressure to end the separation of immigrant families on the southern US border.

While several high-profile crimes by migrants have fuelled public anger in Germany, which has admitted more than one million asylum seekers since 2015, the country's crime rate is at its lowest since 1992, according to official figures released last month.

Data from the German interior ministry does indicate that the proportion of crimes committed by foreigners has gone up in the past five years, but this cannot be attributed specifically to migrant arrivals.

On Monday, Trump tweeted that crime in Germany “is way up” as he assailed what he called a “big mistake” by Europe “in allowing millions of people in who have so strongly and violently changed their culture!”

Trump's intrusive comments have poured fuel on the fire as hardliners in German Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservative bloc gave her an ultimatum to tighten asylum rules or risk a political crisis that would rattle Europe.

The US president himself faces intensifying pressure to end migrant family separations, which are occurring as a result of a “zero tolerance” policy requiring the arrest and prosecution of anyone who crosses the border illegally.

More than 2,300 children have been taken from their parents since early May, a practice loudly decried by rights groups and US politicians from both main parties.

Trump has said he wants family separations to end, but has sought to pin blame on opposition Democrats, accusing them of blocking legislation on the broader issue of illegal immigration.

He once more defended the administration's stance on Tuesday, tweeting: “We must always arrest people coming into our Country illegally.”

“If you don't have Borders, you don't have a Country!”

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German police probe fatal knife attack on schoolgirl

Police were on Tuesday investigating a motive behind the fatal stabbing of a 14-year-old girl on her way to school in Baden-Württemberg in a case that made national headlines.

German police probe fatal knife attack on schoolgirl

According to police, a 27-year-old man attacked two girls on the street with a knife as they walked to school Monday morning in the small town of Illerkirchberg near Ulm.

The victim, a German girl with a Turkish family background, was revived at the scene but later died in hospital, police said.

A 13-year-old girl was also hurt in the incident but did not suffer
life-threatening injuries.

Police apprehended the suspect at “nearby asylum seekers’ accommodation”, they said.

The alleged aggressor was injured when he was stopped by police and was taken to receive medical treatment. He was currently being held in hospital under guard.

Google Maps shows the town of Illerkirchberg, which has a little over 5,000 residents, and sits on the border with Bavaria.

“We will fully investigate this terrible act,” announced Thomas Strobl, Baden-Württemberg’s Interior Minister on Monday. “We are deeply affected…when the life of an innocent child is so brutally taken.”

The crime has taken on a political dimension because the suspect is an asylum seeker from Eritrea. Several politicians from Germany’s far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) used the crime to question the country’s immigration policies. 

In the statement, a police spokesperson asked people “not to harbour general suspicions against strangers, or asylum seekers in general, or to encourage or support such suspicions.”

She said she was aware “that events of this kind stir up fears and emotions.”

The Turkish ambassador to Germany, Ahmet Basar Sen, was set to visit the scene of the crime Tuesday with  Strobl, and the mayor of Illerkirchberg.

“I mourn the girl who was killed and sincerely hope that the injured girl will recover,” Federal Interior Minister Nancy Faeser posted on Twitter Monday.

“The police are urgently investigating the background” of the attack, she said.