Foreigners are enormously overrepresented in Germany’s crime statistics, but this data is often countered by left-wing media and academics with a number of theories to explain this trend. The reality is, however, that all of these theories are not only highly misleading, but the reality of migrant crime is actually far worse than the statistics suggest upon first appearance.
Here are three facts about migrant crime that many Germans are unaware of but which are highly relevant to the debate around the country’s current migration crisis.
Migrant crime can be explained away by the number of young migrants
Perhaps the most common argument of those attempting to explain away migrant crime is that migrant crime figures are only higher because Germany’s foreign population features a higher rate of young males. While it is true that Germany’s immigrant population skews younger and more male than the general population, a deeper dive into the data shows that this does not fully account for foreigners’ outsized role in crime data, especially for serious crimes such as robbery, murder and rape.
Looking at the crime rates overall, according to the recently presented police crime statistics (PKS), 36 percent of all suspects identified for “crimes against life” in 2022 had no German passport. This is the most serious crime category, which includes murder. However, similar statistics are seen in crimes that cause “serious bodily harm,” such as assault. Of the 144,430 suspects in this category last year, 55,250 were foreigners, amounting to 38 percent.
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However, this information can also be broken down by age. Germany’s crime data from 2022 lists 18,762 suspected non-German men aged 18 to 29 for “dangerous and serious bodily harm” and 23,869 German citizens. The PKS named 472 non-German male suspects between the ages of 18 and 29 who committed “offenses against life” and 593 Germans.
The data shows that non-German suspects are responsible for 44 percent of all of these violent crimes despite making up around 21 percent of men aged 18 to 29, according to the Federal Statistical Office. This means even when comparing foreign males to German males of the same age group, the foreign males are vastly more likely to commit violent offenses.
When looking at the total German population, non-Germans make up only 14 percent of the total population in Germany, according to the Federal Statistical Office.
Furthermore, in neighboring Poland, which has accepted virtually no migrants from the Middle East or Africa but has a large Ukrainian refugee population, violent crime is magnitudes lower than in Germany along with robbery rates, despite Poles being poorer on average than their German neighbors.
Many German criminals are not ethnic Germans
Another major factor glossed over by the left is that many of the suspects counted as “German” are actually of foreign origin; many are second or even third-generation Germans whose parents hail from other countries, such as Turkey or the Balkans. Many recent migrants have also obtained German citizenship, and as soon as they do, they are counted as German in the crime statistics.
Unlike the U.S., where data can still be found on the race of perpetrators, this data is simply not available to the public in Germany. This makes it far harder to know how well foreigners are integrating into Germany after they obtain citizenship or how second-generation immigrants are performing in Germany. Data from Denmark, for example, has shown that second-generation immigrants who obtain Danish citizenship actually have far higher crime rates than even the first.
However, according to German newspaper Die Welt, there are approximately 4 million people living in Germany with two or more nationalities, for example, those with dual Turkish-German citizenship. This group is entirely counted as “German,” and no distinction is made for this very large group in the crime data.
What we do know is that there are many of these individuals of foreign origin, who are counted as German, committing crimes, and often at very high rates. For example, according to former Berlin Interior Senator Andreas Geisel (SPD), three-quarters of clan members in Berlin already have German citizenship. The remaining 25 percent who are still counted as foreigners also have large extended families with children who have been granted German citizenship. These same clans have been involved with murders, money laundering, and a range of other offenses, and yet, all this crime gets lumped into the “German” category.
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More and more people of foreign origin have been granted citizenship every year thanks to left-leaning policies enacted over 20 years ago. In 2000, the red-green government introduced major citizenship reform that meant the newborns of two foreigners would be granted German citizenship if one parent has lived legally in the country for at least eight years.
The foreigners committing crimes include tourists
Another argument is that criminal statistics count tourists committing crimes as “foreigners.”
Once again, the data dispels the claim that tourists are committing crimes at high rates in Germany.
Crime data from 2021 from the PKS shows that of all the “dangerous physical assaults” recorded that year, only 2.1 percent of the non-German suspects “reside outside of Germany” and another 1.9 percent had an “unknown place of residence.” For crimes against life, such as murder, 3.6 percent of the non-German suspects were a “resident outside Germany” and a further 3.3 percent of the non-German suspects had an “unknown place of residence.”
This data shows that non-Germans living abroad but visiting Germany, such as tourists from Italy, do not play a major role in violent crime.
What does the future hold?
It should now be clear how the issue of migrant crime statistics is widely distorted by not only the way Germany records crime in the country, but also how that crime is presented by the media and political class. Most Germans remain highly ignorant about the reality of this crime data or how simple statistical tricks can vastly warp perception of the issue.
However, the situation is only set to get worse in the near future. The left-wing government coalition wants to introduce a sweeping new law that will shorten the amount of time it takes for an immigrant to become a citizen, from eight years to five years. If the law passes, it will not only create a new voting bloc of immigrants for Germany’s pro-migration parties, but it will also help the issue of “foreign” crime mostly disappear from the crime statistics within a year. In other words, many of those thousands of migrant suspects listed as “foreigners’ will suddenly be listed as “German.”
In turn, the left in the country could point to what is likely to be a new surge in “German” crime as evidence that Germans are far more dangerous than foreigners.
Most Germans, unaware of the statistical deception going on, will nod their heads in agreement and wonder whatever happened to the generally law-abiding and orderly Germans of yesteryear.
Any future conservative government that happens to come to power may be able to partly remedy the situation by introducing more accurate data into migrant statistics, such as is the case in Denmark, a country that tracks not only crimes committed by foreigners but also shows the crime rates of second-generation migrants even if they have Danish citizenship.
The only question is whether the current government will ever allow a nationalist-populist government to come to power. With extreme surveillance being deployed against Alternative for Germany (AfD) and a virtual ban on that party from operating in the media sphere, a lot more than crime statistics is at stake.