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Germany sees highest surge in violent crime in 15 years

German news. Germany high violent crime. In 2023, Germany witnessed a significant surge in violent crime, marking the first year without pandemic restrictions, according to police statistics published on Saturday.

Welt am Sonntag, having exclusive access to the data, reported an 8.6% rise in violent crime, totaling 214,099 cases, which represents a 15-year peak. The newspaper highlighted a nearly 7% uptick in instances of dangerous and severe bodily harm, reaching a record high of 154,541 cases. Moreover, incidents of intentional simple bodily harm rose by 7.4%, totalling 429,157 cases.

More crime overall: Berlin is least safe state

In 2023, the total number of recorded crimes in Germany surged to 5.94 million, marking a 5.5% increase compared to 2022 and a 9.3% rise from pre-pandemic levels in 2019.
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The number of apprehended suspects increased by 7.3% to 2.246 million, with 41.3% of them lacking German citizenship. Among non-German individuals charged, 402,514 were categorized as refugees, asylum seekers, or illegal entrants.

Unauthorized entry offenses spiked by 40% to 93,158 cases, while unauthorized stay offenses rose by nearly 29% to 187,059 cases. Theft offenses, comprising a third of all crimes (1.971 million), rose by 10.7% last year. Berlin saw the most significant surge in burglaries among all German states, with a 35.2% increase.

According to crime statistics, Berlin topped the list as the most crime-ridden area, followed by Bremen, Hamburg, and Saxony Anhalt. Bavaria retained its status as the safest state in Germany. The police data revealed that 58.4% of all recorded crimes were solved, resulting in charges being filed.
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Politicians cite several reasons for the increase in crime

Herbert Reul, the Interior Minister for the western state of North Rhine-Westphalia, commented on the rise in violent crime, saying that the way conflicts are resolved has changed in German society. He mentioned that physical violence is becoming more common than verbal communication, indicating a shorter fuse in society. Reul also highlighted how recent wars in Gaza and Ukraine have intensified societal divisions, likening the situation to a volatile situation ready to explode.

Moreover, there has been a notable increase in antisemitism and Islamophobia in Germany following conflicts between Hamas and Israel. Lower Saxony’s Interior Minister Daniela Behrens suggested that the rise in violent crime cannot solely be attributed to the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, pointing to factors such as inflation, increased mobility post-pandemic, and migration as contributing factors.