Crime statistics have not yet been published and right-wing media are already starting a debate about migration. The numbers give no reason for this.

A sign warns of pickpockets.

Police crime statistics (PKS) can provide information on where prevention is most needed Photo: Arnulf Hettrich

Things are getting dangerous in Germany and “foreigners” are to blame. A statement this general is, of course, erroneous, but it has been spreading in some media for days. “Violent crime soars in Germany” or “More than 40 percent of suspects are foreigners,” read the headlines.

Regarding immigration, the increase among foreigners is even smaller than among Germans

The statements are based on police crime statistics (PKS) for 2023. Although they will not actually be presented until Tuesday, the alarmist debate about this has continued since Saturday. The reason was a preliminary report. World through extracts from statistics. Since then, the media appears to have failed to make a connection between immigration and crime. This cannot be deduced from the numbers.

What the extracts say: 5.9 million crimes were recorded in 2023, an increase of 5.5 percent compared to the previous year. And 41 percent of the suspects do not have a German passport. This includes refugees, people who have lived in Germany for decades and tourists.

The fact that the number of foreign criminals has increased compared to the previous year is also due to the fact that the number of foreigners has increased. In relative terms, the increase is even smaller than that of the Germans. And crimes also include things like “entering the country illegally.” Crimes that Germans with passports cannot commit.

The figures do not even show that things are becoming more dangerous in Germany. Because the PKS does not reflect real crime, but only the cases that the police process. It is not possible to answer whether the number of crimes or the willingness to report them is increasing.

Regardless, PKS can be interesting because it can provide information about where prevention is most needed. But very few people are interested in the numbers in detail; many prefer to set the mood with a few numbers. Like the Bavarian Minister of the Interior, Joachim Herrmann, who is already calling for a change of course in asylum policy. And that's really dangerous.

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