The number of crimes motivated by German politics has increased significantly over the past year. Violations committed by the left and right wing have surged. For the first time, crimes committed online were also included in the statistics. German EURACTIV Report.
The number of politically motivated crimes in Germany in 2019 rose by around 14% over the previous year to around 41,000.
This is the result of a report about politically motivated crime (PMK) delivered by German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer (CSU) last Wednesday (May 27) together with Holger Münch, president of the Federal Criminal Police Station (BKA).
This places politically motivated crime at the second highest level since it was introduced to statistics in 2001.
Crimes from the right wing environment, with around 22,000 violations, constitute more than half (54.3%) of registered violations. Compared to the previous year, the number has increased by almost 10%.
“The biggest threat continues to come from right-wing extremism. We have every reason to continue the greatest vigilance here, “Seehofer told reporters.
However, political crimes related to the left have increased even more significantly. The number of violations in 2019 increased by around 24% to almost 10,000 compared to the previous year.
On the other hand, a significant decrease can be observed in the area of religiously motivated crime, where the focus continues on crime with an Islamist background.
Sharp increase in anti-Semitism
There has been a significant increase in racial crime, including violations of xenophobia and anti-Semites. With a 13% increase from the previous year to more than 2,000 violations, the number of anti-Semitic crimes last year reached a record high.
According to statistics, more than 90% of crimes are classified as right-wing acts.
“Anti-Semitism has become commonplace for Jews in Germany,” according to the president of the Jewish Central Council in Germany, Josef Schuster. He demanded that “special attention” be given to the growth of right-wing extremism.
Schuster noted that the Internet specifically offers a platform for anti-Semitic statements and fears the COVID-19 crisis could intensify this trend. This assessment is also shared by many experts, who show the possibility of linking conspiracy theories with anti-Semitic mindsets.
According to the report, around 1,500 online posts are registered as racial crimes, of which three-quarters have political motivation related to right-wing extremism. This is the first time the report has included this statistic.
New law to improve the situation
The assassination of Kassel district president Walter Lübcke, as well as attacks on Hanau and Halle – which were incidents of right-wing extremist violence in Germany last year – have sparked renewed discussions about the fight against crime related to right-wing extremism.
“Above all, the development of politically motivated crime shows us a new dimension in terms of threats to our democracy,” said Thuringia Interior Minister Georg Maier. The constitutional state must fight this in every possible way, he added.
German Minister of Justice Christine Lambrecht (SPD), therefore, plans to introduce appropriate laws against right-wing extremism and racial crime. The latest case figures from crime statistics will clearly show how necessary the law is, Lambrecht said after the report was published.
In February, the cabinet issued a bill that not only provided an expansion in the number of violations but also more effective prosecutions.
In addition, major social networking providers are also required to take action against online hate posts and report certain criminal content to the Federal Criminal Police Station. This bill will be passed by the Bundestag before summer.
[Edited by Sam Morgan]
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