BERLIN (Reuters) – Migrants in Germany committed or tried to commit some 69,000 crimes in the first quarter of 2016, according to a police report that could raise unease, especially among anti-immigrant groups, about Chancellor Angela Merkel’s liberal migrant policy.
There was a record influx of more than a million migrants into Germany last year and concerns are now widespread about how Europe’s largest economy will manage to integrate them and ensure security.
The report from the BKA federal police showed that migrants from northern Africa, Georgia and Serbia were disproportionately represented among the suspects.
Absolute numbers of crimes committed by Syrians, Afghans and Iraqis – the three biggest groups of asylum seekers in Germany – were high but given the proportion of migrants that they account for, their involvement in crimes was “clearly disproportionately low”, the report said.
It gave no breakdown of the number of actual crimes and of would-be crimes, nor did it state what percentage the 69,000 figure represented with respect to the total number of crimes and would-be crimes committed in the first three months of 2016.
The report stated that the vast majority of migrants did not commit any crimes.
It is the first time the BKA has published a report on crimes committed by migrants containing data from all of Germany’s 16 states, so there is no comparable data.
The report showed that 29.2 percent of the crimes migrants committed or tried to commit in the first quarter were thefts, 28.3 percent were property or forgery offences and 23 percent offences such as bodily harm, robbery and unlawful detention.
Drug-related offences accounted for 6.6 percent and sex crimes accounted for 1.1 percent.
In Cologne at New Year, hundreds of women said they were groped, assaulted and robbed, with police saying the suspects were mainly of North African and Arab appearance. Prosecutors said last week three Pakistani men seeking asylum in Germany were under investigation after dozens of women said they were sexually harassed at a music festival.
The number of crimes committed by migrants declined by more than 18 percent between January and March, however, according to the report.
(Reporting by Michelle Martin; Editing by Mark Heinrich)