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Crime in Germany at lowest level since reunification

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Crime in Germany at lowest level since reunification
File photo shows a man being arrested by police. Photo: DPA
09:15 CEST+02:00
The number of crimes recorded by German police dropped last year across all states – except one.

Nationwide, there was a total of 5.55 million criminal offences recorded in 2018, a decrease of 3.6 percent compared to the previous year, reported Welt. That's the lowest level since records began in 1992-93, just after the reunification of Germany in 1990.

The new figures show recorded crime dropped in all states last year apart from one.

In 2017 police crime statistics (PKS) had shown there was a total of 5.76 million crimes, a drop of 9.6 percent from the previous year – making it the sharpest decline in nearly 25 years.

However, authorities warn that statistics do not tell the whole story as many offences go unreported.

SEE ALSO: What crimes are committed in Germany and where is criminality most common?

Sebastian Fiedler, chairman of the Federation of German Criminal Investigators (BDK), stressed to Welt that crime statistics only reflect the picture partially. Instead of statistics, he called for "periodic safety reports", which would in future be prepared by an independent committee of experts and presented every two years.

In 2018 the Aufklärungsquote (rate of solving crime) was 57.7 percent, the same rate it's been roughly over the past 15 years.

Interior Minister Horst Seehofer was due to present the findings in Berlin on Tuesday.

Biggest drop in Saxony

The biggest drop in crime was recorded in the eastern state of Saxony where 278,797 incidents were recorded, a drop of 13.7 percent compared to 2017. Next was Bremen where 74,524 crimes were logged, a decrease of 8.2 percent.

The only state to record an increase of crime, albeit a small one, was Bavaria where 635,420 crimes were recorded, up 0.9 percent.

The highest number of recorded crimes are in Germany's most populated state, North Rhine-Westphalia. In 2018 1,282,441 crimes were logged, a drop of 6.6 percent on the previous year. In the capital Berlin 511,677 offences were recorded last year, a slight decrease of 1.7 percent on 2017.

Horst Seehofer, Interior Minister, will present the findings on Tuesday. Photo: DPA

A third of crimes involve theft

As in previous years, around one third of all crimes involved theft. Fewer vehicles (30,232, a decrease of 9.1 percent) and bikes (292,015, minus 2.7 percent) were stolen. Pickpocketing went down considerably, by 18.2 percent to 104,196 cases. Shoplifting fell by 4.1 percent to 339,021 cases.

The police have been particularly successful in combating burglary. The number dropped to an all-time low (97,504 cases, a drop of 16.3 percent). On the other hand, so-called 'tank fraud' (theft of petrol) rose slightly, by 1.3 percent to 72,424 cases.

SEE ALSO: Where do most break-ins occur in Germany and why are they going down?

Meanwhile, the distribution of illegal pornographic materials increased significantly by 13.6 percent to 11,435 cases.

The number of drug offences has also risen again, by 6.1 percent to 350,662 cases, making it the seventh consecutive year of growth.

Sharp rise in crimes against police

According to the report, there was a huge increase – nearly 40 percent – in the crime “resistance against state power”. A total of 34,168 cases were logged last year. This includes crimes against police and enforcement officers.

However, it should be noted that new criminal offences were created in May 2017 so it’s difficult to compare this number to previous years.

Oliver Malchow, chairman of the Police Union (GdP), said: "It is frightening how violence against police officers is breaking new ground.

“Statistically, my colleagues were assaulted about 32 times a day last year. If you count the resistance crimes among them, it is almost 94 a day,” he told Welt.

 
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