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19 Jan, 2022 12:12

Highest-ever rise in ‘political crime’ registered in EU state

The majority of offenses were linked to right-wing sympathies, but authorities claimed disaffection with Covid rules also factored in
Highest-ever rise in ‘political crime’ registered in EU state

Germany registered record levels of politically motivated crime in 2021, with such offenses reaching a two-decade milestone. The authorities could not link a significant number to any particular ideology, but the sharp uptick in Covid pandemic-related tensions is thought to be driving the increase.

According to the Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA), there were some 47,303 reported incidents in the country that could be categorized as politically motivated over the past year. More than 19,000 of these offenses were apparently attributed to suspects who held right-wing views, while around 9,000 were committed by those who espoused left-wing ideologies.

The data, which highlighted a roughly 6% increase in such crimes from 2020, was released in response to a question posed in Parliament earlier this month by a politician from the right-wing Alternative for Germany (AfD) party, the dpa news agency reported. Authorities began keeping tabs on politically motivated crime only in 2001.

While the data showed that violent crimes that bore a political motivation had gone down by about 6%, the agency reported that the figures were still preliminary – meaning the final tally could be much higher. As it stands, police have reportedly not been able to attribute more than 17,000 of the politically tinged crimes to either left- or right-wing causes. 

There were some 1,047 incidents of violent crimes with uncertain political motivation logged by police last year, nearly doubling the 591 such offenses registered the previous year. Security officials told the dpa that the “tense social climate” during the coronavirus pandemic may have been a factor. In recent months, the country has seen violent protests against Covid-19 rules and restrictions.

Data from the federal government’s Periodic Security Report last November showed that Germany has registered more than 20,000 politically motivated crimes annually since the European refugee crisis of 2015, which saw over a million migrants seek asylum in the country.

Over the past year, however, the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV) – Germany’s domestic intelligence agency – has reportedly turned its attention to social indicators of a general sentiment towards “delegitimization of the state.” This shift in focus was apparently in response to an increase in conspiracy theories and anti-Semitic ideologies during the pandemic.