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CRIME

Crime in Germany falls to lowest level in 30 years

The number of crimes reported to the German police force has fallen for the fifth year in a row.

Police officers ride together on motorcycles in Erfurt, Thuringia
Police officers ride together on motorcycles in Erfurt, Thuringia. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Martin Schutt

According to the Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA), around 5.05 million criminal offences were reported to the authorities last year, representing the lowest number since 1992.

From 1993 to 2009 and from 2014 to 2016, more than six million crimes were reported in Germany on an annual basis. Crime levels fell by around five percent between 2020 and 2021, while the number of crimes solved by the police increased to around 58 percent of cases. 

Around 1,890,000 suspects were identified – two-thirds of whom were male.

According to the BKA, the lower crime rates are a knock-on effect of the Covid pandemic and its ensuing restrictions on public life.

Due to measures such as lockdowns, curfews and closures of public venues, would-be criminals had much less opportunity to commit crime in 2021.

The number of registered thefts fell by about 11.8 percent compared to the previous year, and assaults also decreased by about ten percent.

On the other hand, the Covid restrictions led to a shift of offences to the internet or the home.

In the area of cybercrime, almost 16,000 more cases were counted in 2021 than in 2020 – an increase of 12.1 percent.

READ ALSO: Germany searches 100 suspects over political hate speech

Illegal distribution of pornographic content increased by 87.8 per cent, while the distribution of child pornography more than doubled and child abuse cases rose by six percent.

“The crime statistics show a positive development in most areas,” said Interior Minister Nancy Faeser. “The consistent increase in the rate of crimes solved shows that the strengthening of the police is paying off.

“However, the appalling extent of sexualised violence against children is for me a clear mandate to act with all consistency. For me, combating the sexual abuse of children and the dissemination of heinous abuse photos and videos via the internet is a top priority.”

To tackle this growing issue, Faeser said the Interior Ministry would strengthen the role of the Federal Criminal Police Office and improve data analysis and AI capabilities for investigating crimes against children. 

“My goal is clear: no perpetrator should feel safe,” she said. 

Vocabulary

crime – (die) Straftat 

restrictions – (die) Einschränkungen

to fall / decrease – sinken 

appalling – entsetzlich 

We’re aiming to help our readers improve their German by translating vocabulary from some of our news stories. Did you find this article useful? Let us know.

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CRIME

German jailed for life in double police murder

A German man was given a life sentence on Wednesday for shooting dead two police officers to escape being caught for illegal game hunting during a routine traffic check.

German jailed for life in double police murder

The regional court in Kaiserslautern found 39-year-old Andreas Schmitt guilty of the killings in January this year, which sent shockwaves across Germany.

His co-defendant, referred to by the court as Florian V., was found guilty of abetting illegal poaching.

The 33-year-old was in the car with Schmitt when the officers discovered dead game in the boot, investigators said.

“We are all to this day horrified that a supposed routine control could turn into a fatal incident,” Interior Minister Nancy Faeser said in a statement after the verdict.

READ ALSO: German prosecutors say poaching led to double police murder

The victims were a 24-year-old woman police officer still in training and her colleague, a 29-year-old man.

The young woman was killed by a single shot to the head, while the man was shot four times, investigators said.

The officers were able to report that they were checking a suspicious vehicle and that shots were being fired before radio contact broke off.

When backup arrived, the woman was already dead and the man fatally injured. The perpetrators had fled the scene.

The crime in the Kusel district of Rhineland-Palatinate state triggered a major manhunt, with police deploying helicopters and sniffer dogs, sealing off roads and warning local residents not to pick up hitchhikers.

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