BERLIN (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Hate crimes against LGBT + people increased 36% in Germany in 2020, highlighting an increase in homophobic attacks and politically motivated violence in the country in recent years, the government and campaigners said on Tuesday.
A total of 782 crimes targeting lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people were reported last year, about 150 of them involving violence, police data show.
“Hate crimes against queer people have increased in the last three or four years,” said Markus Ulrich, a spokesman for the LSVD of Germany’s largest LGBT group.
“There is a trend,” he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation, adding that the increase may also partly reflect a greater willingness among LGBT people to go to the police to report crimes against them.
The figures released on LGBT + hate crimes do not include last year’s murder of a gay man in Dresden and another in Altenburg because they were classified as homicide and not hate crime.
A Syrian man has been charged with murder in Dresden and two right-wing supporters accused of murder in Altenburg.
Data released by the Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA) also showed an 8.54% increase in politically motivated crimes, with crimes involving violence increasing by 18.8% compared to 2019.
Interior Minister Horst Seehofer said in a statement the increases were “worrying as they consolidate the trend of recent years”.
More than half of politically motivated actors are supporters of the right. Anti-Semitic and xenophobic hate crimes increased by 15.7% and 19.1%, respectively.
A 2020 survey by the US-based think tank Pew Research Center found that 86% of Germans think homosexuality should be accepted, and Ulrich says attitudes are changing.
“Freaks feel safer to report this incident to the police, which may not have been the same in the past,” he said.
“In recent years, the German police have improved the way they register this crime and they are more likely to brand it specifically as hate crimes against LGBT + people,” he said.
However, 13% of LGBT + Germans say they have been victims of violent attacks on the basis of their sexual orientation or gender identity, an EU survey showed last year.
Reporting by Enrique Anarte @enriqueanarte; Edited by Helen Popper and Hugo Greenhalgh. Please acknowledge the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the Thomson Reuters charity, covering the lives of people around the world who struggle to live free or fair. Visit news.trust.org