Germany is acknowledging the unspeakable

Jul 9, 2024 by

by Andrew Hammel, Artillery Row:

In spring 2024, Herbert Reul, Interior Minister of Germany’s most populous state(22 million inhabitants), Northern Rhine-Westphalia, said something remarkable: “We have a problem with non-German criminals.” What’s remarkable is not what Reul said but the fact that a centre-right politician from the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party said it. Nancy Faeser, Germany’s Interior Minister from the centre-left Social Democratic Party (SPD) — which courts voters of non-German ancestry — also said something which would have been branded far-right provocation just a few years ago: “We have to talk about the rise in crime by foreigners”.

These statements may sound benign, but they shatter taboos. German politicos and journalists have long suppressed discussions of why certain groups of foreigners are overrepresented in crime statistics; Section 12 of the official German press code even forbids identifying the ethnic ancestry of criminals to combat “discrimination”. Any references to “crime by foreigners” (Ausländerkriminalität) as a distinct problem were met with charges of xenophobia and racism. What has moved the Overton Window is a stream of grim crime statistics published by government agencies or, just as frequently, leaked to journalists.

In 2023, according to official statistics, Germany registered 5.5 per cent more crimes than in the previous year. The number of suspects rose 7.3 per cent. 41 per cent were foreigners, an increase of 17.8 per cent. Asylum seekers(a category which excludes Ukrainian refugees)made up 18 per cent of the offenders, an increase of 18 per cent from 2022.

There were 214,000 violent crimes, a 15-year high and an increase of 8.6 per cent. Robberies were up 17.4 per cent, knife crimes 9.7 per cent. Homicides were up 2.1 per cent, sex crimes 2.4 per cent. Crimes involving knives nearly tripled between 2020 (10,121 incidents) and 2023 (26,230). An internal analysis leaked to the Welt newspaper showed that knife crimes in Northern Rhine-Westphalia shot up 45 per cent over a recent 12-month interval. Other statistics from that state: in 2023, 80.1 per cent of pickpockets were foreigners, as were 47.6 per cent of shoplifters, 47.3 per cent of burglars, 41.6 per cent of homicide suspects, and 37.1 per cent of suspects in violent sex crimes.

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