German Interior Minister: Higher Migration Led to Rise in Crimes

Geman Federal Minister of the Interior Nancy Faeser (AFP)
Geman Federal Minister of the Interior Nancy Faeser (AFP)
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German Interior Minister: Higher Migration Led to Rise in Crimes

Geman Federal Minister of the Interior Nancy Faeser (AFP)
Geman Federal Minister of the Interior Nancy Faeser (AFP)

Data released by the German Interior Ministry on Tuesday showed that crimes in Europe's largest economy have reached their highest peak since 2016.

The data, which sparked widespread debate, shows that last year, 41 percent of all crime suspects were foreigners, or persons without German citizenship. Foreigners in German represent only 15 percent of the population.

The Federal Criminal Police Office on Tuesday said it registered a 5.5 percent year-on-year increase in crimes in Germany, to 5.94 million cases in 2023.

The data, presented by Federal Minister of the Interior Nancy Faeser, showed that the number of foreign suspects rose by 14.5%, with the number of German suspects increasing by 2.2%.

Faeser admitted the impact of higher immigration in Germany on crime rates, but said her country would take measures to enhance integration.

Data showed that mainly migrants from Georgia and the Arab Maghreb were involved in crimes. Ukrainians were less involved than average because the majority of Ukrainian migrants are women and children.

Despite the rising level of crime, Faeser insisted that Germany remains “one of the safest countries in the world.”

The Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA) pointed to three factors that could have contributed to the rise: Ongoing post-COVID repercussion, inflation and increased migration over a short period leading to fewer integration opportunities for individual migrants.

Faeser, a Social Democrat in Chancellor Olaf Scholz's government, vowed to tackle rising crime by speeding up deportations of migrants.

“Anyone who doesn’t stick to the rules must leave,” she said, adding that the rules will not be imposed on Ukrainians due to the war.

Several officials from the opposition Christian Democratic Union (CDU) of former Chancellor Angela Merkel, have called for tougher migrant policies to deal with the rise in overall crime among foreigners.

CDU deputy parliamentary leader Andrea Lindholz said the government must manage immigration better and “we must know who is entering the country.”

Also, Richard Graupner of the Alternative for Germany (AfD) in Bavaria said, “What the AfD has warned about for years can no longer be hidden ... new crime statistics have triggered a debate on ‘foreigner crime.” He also called on the government to speed up deportations.

The deportation of Syrians is not currently possible, according to the German Foreign Ministry assessments.

State interior minister for North Rhine-Westphalia Herbert Reul commented on the rise in crime rates. He told the Bild newspaper last week that the social behavior in Germany has lately changed, as disputes are being resolved “by hands instead of words.”

There have also been warnings that the continued rise in crime will lead to increased pressure on the police.

Jochen Kopelke, a police officer who heads Germany's largest police union, told the German news agency that greater and immediate efforts must be made in securing additional numbers of police officers and in strengthening their powers.



Stockholm Accuses Iran of Using Criminals in Sweden to Target Israel

A police vehicle on patrol in Sweden. Reuters file photo
A police vehicle on patrol in Sweden. Reuters file photo
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Stockholm Accuses Iran of Using Criminals in Sweden to Target Israel

A police vehicle on patrol in Sweden. Reuters file photo
A police vehicle on patrol in Sweden. Reuters file photo

Sweden's domestic security agency on Thursday accused Iran of using established criminal networks in Sweden as a proxy to target Israeli or Jewish interests in the Scandinavian country.
The accusations were raised at a news conference by Daniel Stenling, the head of the SAPO agency's counterespionage unit, following a series of events earlier this year.
In late January, the Israeli Embassy in Stockholm was sealed off after what was then described as “a dangerous object” was found on the grounds of the diplomatic mission in an eastern Stockholm neighborhood. Swedish media said the object was a hand grenade.
The embassy was not evacuated and the object was eventually destroyed. No arrests were made and authorities did not say what was found. On May 17, gunshots were heard near the Israeli Embassy in Stockholm and the area was cordoned off. No one was arrested.
According to The Associated Press, Stenling said, without offering specifics or evidence to back up his assertion, that the agency "can establish that criminal networks in Sweden are used as a proxy by Iran.”
“It is very much about planning and attempts to carry out attacks against Israeli and Jewish interests, goals and activities in Sweden," he said and added that the agency sees "connections between criminal individuals in the criminal networks and individuals who are connected to the Iranian security services.”
Justice Minister Gunnar Strömmer and Hampus Nygårds, deputy head of the Swedish police's National Operations Department, were also at the online news conference with Stenling.
“We see this connection between the Iranian intelligence services, the security services and precisely criminals in the criminal networks in Sweden," Stenling said. “We see that connection and it also means that we need to work much more internationally to get to the crimes and be able to prevent them.”
Stenling and the others made no mention of the recent incidents connected to the Israel Embassy and stopped short of naming any criminal groups or suspects.
Sweden has grappled with gang violence for years and criminal gangs often recruit teenagers in socially disadvantaged immigrant neighborhoods to carry out hits.
By May 15, police have recorded 85 shootings so far this year, including 12 fatal shootings. Last year, 53 people were killed and 109 were wounded in a total of 363 shootings.