Antisemitic criminal offenses up by almost 29 percent in Germany

The number of politically motivated crimes in Germany increased even more significantly last year than previously known.

This applies not only to so-called “propaganda crimes”, but the curve is also rising for violent crimes.

As shown in the statistics of the Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA) for 2021, published on Tuesday, 55,048 crimes with a political background were recorded in Germany during the year. That was an all-time high and a good 23 percent more than the year before. The number of politically motivated acts of violence rose by 15.5 percent to 3899 crimes.

With an increase of more than 147 percent, the rise was greatest for such crimes that were not assigned to any specific ideology by the police. Suspects who were not classified as belonging to far right, far left, Islamists or supporters of another foreign ideology amounted to 21,339 offenses, according to the data.

For BKA President Holger Münch sees a connection here with the protests against government measures in the context of the pandemic. Other crimes with a political background, which could not be assigned to any of the “classic” phenomenon areas, were committed in the context of elections.

In line with this, the number of crimes against the state and its representatives also increased sharply last year. The police registered more than 14,000 criminal offenses – an increase of almost 51 percent. Almost three quarters of the crimes against officials or elected representatives involved suspects who could not be ideologically assigned to any particular ideology by the police.

The fact that the backgrounds for politically motivated acts “have become more diverse and also more diffuse” is, in the view of Federal Interior Minister Nancy Faeser (SPD), a reflection of current social conflicts. She says, “We see very clearly that we must protect our democracy with all our might.”

The number of antisemitic crimes has risen by almost 29 percent to 3027, which is “a disgrace for our country,” the minister says, adding that 84 percent of antisemitic crimes are attributable to right-wing extremists. At the same time, she said, an increasingly vocal Islamist-influenced antisemitism is becoming visible.

“Any form of extremism and antisemitism in whatever guise are completely unacceptable; there must be no discount whatsoever – neither culturally nor for any political camp,” warns FDP interior politician Linda Teuteberg.

The President of the Central Council President Josef Schuster said: “What many had feared has unfortunately been more than confirmed by the new statistics on politically motivated crime: The Corona pandemic is acting like an accelerant, radicalizing a frighteningly large proportion of the population.”

Many politically motivated crimes can therefore no longer be assigned to a typical scene. This makes it much more difficult to combat. Since antisemitism is also increasing at an equally alarming rate, this social development is deeply worrying. “The task now is to prevent young people in particular from slipping into this diffuse scene, or to get them out of it again. We need both more democracy education in schools and more support for civil society initiatives.” Schuster demanded, “The federal government should increase the pace in drafting the Democracy Promotion Act and quickly present a bill.”

Overall, most crimes were committed by right-wing motivated perpetrators, according to the BKA. The police counted just under 22,000 crimes here – a decrease of just under seven percent. Around 10,000 crimes were attributed to left-wingers – again, around 7.8 percent fewer than in the previous year. This could perhaps be due to the reduced number of events caused by the pandemic. The fact that more crimes with a political background were committed last year than at any time in the past 20 years had already become known in January through a parliamentary question.

“In particular, the audible and visible hostility towards Jews and the increased attacks on local politicians, media representatives and police forces are by no means a temporary phenomenon,” says Oliver Malchow, head of the German police union (GdP). It is “necessary to intensify the observation of extremist groups and developments by the intelligence services as well as the police state protection”. Extremist gun owners must be identified and disarmed more effectively, he said.

The BKA chief can announce at least one success: a new risk assessment tool developed with the help of scientists for the police to evaluate individual right-wing extremist threats is now ready for use. It is designed to help police focus their limited resources for surveillance and other measures on those who are highly likely to commit crimes in the near future. The police designate people who they believe to be capable of committing serious politically motivated acts of violence, including terrorist attacks, as dangerous persons.


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