Germany: politically motivated crimes on increase

Politically motivated crimes and violent crimes increased more than 15 percent in Germany in 2013

Politically motivated crimes and violent crimes increased more than 15 percent in Germany in 2013

BERLIN - The number of politically motivated crimes in Germany increased significantly in 2013.

The German Interior Ministry published a report on Tuesday which says that a total of 31,645 politically motivated crimes and 2,848 violent crimes were registered in 2013, representing an increase of 15.3 percent and 15.6 percent respectively. In 2012, the number of politically motivated crimes stood at 27,440 and the number of violent crimes at 2,464.

The increase of crime from left-wing groups stands at 40 percent above the average. Politically motivated crimes from right-wing groups decreased slightly by 3.3 percent. Anti-immigrant crimes increased by 11.2 percent. 

German Minister of the Interior Thomas de Maiziere said, "This year's record of politically motivated crimes is thought-provoking. The increase in violent crime worries me."

1,873 people were injured by politically motivated acts of violence in 2013, 283 people more than 2012. The report said reports of violence has increased, particularly during demonstrations. 1,354 acts of violence, 38 percent more than 2012, for a total of 5,484 offenses were counted. Left-wing activists are considered responsible for 84 percent of all violent crimes committed during demonstrations. 

The total number of politically motivated crime from the right of the political spectrum decreased slightly in 2013, while overall numbers of politically motivated right-wing violence remained unchanged. Three out of four attempted homicides reflected anti-immigrant intentions. 

The number of crimes against immigrants to Germany increased by 11.6 percent to 3,149 in 2013, and the reports of violence against immigrants increased 19.2 percent to 478, the second highest level over the past ten years. 

"The slight improvement in reduction of far-right crime is not reason to feel safe. The level of offense still give cause to act consistently. A close exchange knowledge between security authorities against rightwing terrorism and extremism is indispensable," Interior Minister Maiziere said.

Maiziere said that anti-immigrant crimes, both verbal and violent, harm Germany and that they have to be extremely careful of the increase of crimes against those seeking asylum in Germany. 

Timo Reinfrank, from the Amadeu Antonio Foundation "Network against Nazis", responded to the reports of violence from far-right groups saying, "The racist offenses we observed, started since the election campaign last year, especially against refugees. The incitement against refugees by the far-right party National Democratic Party of Germany (NPD) and other extreme right-wing parties has intensified racism-motivated crimes."

Reinfrank also said that the victims of such attacks were often chosen opportunistically.

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