Exploring the crime figures behind Germany's far-right clashes

At least 18 people were injured when far-right demonstrators clashed with counter-protestors in the German city Chemnitz on August 28.

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The protests began after it emerged that a 23-year-old Syrian man and a 22-year-old Iraqi were being held by police following an incident in which a 35-year-old German-Cuban man was stabbed and killed.

Around 6,000 people protesting Germany’s refugee policy clashed with counter-protestors on Monday night in Chemnitz, while protests both in support of the refugee policy and against it continue in Berlin and Chemnitz.

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Politicians in Berlin say the far-right Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) is using isolated incidents to stir up anti-immigrant sentiment, with Chancellor Angela Merkel accusing the far-right of “hunting down” foreigners.

The AfD maintain that Angela Merkel’s government is ignoring violent crime committed by refugees and migrants.

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Exploring the statistics

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Germany’s Interior Ministry’s crime figures are available here.

  • The crime rate across Germany is at a 25-year low.
  • Immigrants make up a disproportionate number of people charged with crimes including violent crime.
  • According to Christian Pfeiffer, former justice minister of the state of Lower Saxony foreign nationals are twice as likely to be charged by police than suspects of German origin (Deutsche Welle).
  • A government-sponsored study released in January found that violent crime rose 10 percent between 2015 and 2016, with 90  percent of the rise attributed to young male refugees.

Federal Statistical Office of Germany:


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