Far-Right and Far-Left Crime Rise in Germany in 2019

Police officers secure an area after a shooting in the town of Hanau, Germany, near Frankfurt, Feb. 20, 2020. Photo: Reuters / Kai Pfaffenbach.

Criminal offenses inspired by both far-right and far-left ideas rose in Germany in 2019, an annual domestic intelligence report released by the Interior Ministry showed on Thursday.

Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government was forced to act last year on right-wing political violence after the killing of a pro-immigration politician and an attack on a synagogue and a kebab shop by an antisemitic gunman, which left two dead.

The government imposed tougher rules on gun ownership and stricter monitoring of hate speech online, responding to a rise in hate crime.

Individuals with far-right world views committed more than 22,300 offenses in 2019, the Interior Ministry figures showed, including two murders, five attempted murders and almost 800 bodily injuries, a rise of almost 10 percent.

Thomas Haldenwang, head of the BfV domestic security agency, said antisemitic crime rose by 17 percent and 94 percent of the offenses raging from bodily harm to verbal abuse and antisemitic propaganda were carried out by far-right sympathizers.

Interior Minister Horst Seehofer said a rise in criminal offenses by far-right oriented individuals against foreigners and Muslims had also risen.

“We have to remain vigilant and ready to act,” said Seehofer.

Germany was also shaken this year by the killing in February of eight women and a man with foreign background in a shooting spree at shisha bars in the western town of Hanau by a gunman espousing conspiracy theories and deeply-racist views.

The killings will appear in next year’s report.

This year’s report also found that criminal offenses committed by far-left sympathizers had risen to 6,400, an increase of 40 percent. This included two attempted murders and 355 bodily harm offenses.

Haldenwang said his agency also faces the challenge of monitoring Islamists determined to carry out attacks in Germany.

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Author: Reuters and Algemeiner Staff

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