Tuesday, May 6, 2014

The steep rise in German extremist crime that sort of wasn't

Last week, the German interior department released its annual report on extremist crime, or 'politically motivated' crime as they call it here.

The press reported a steep rise, especially on the left, which is not good news in any country.

As we continued to read there were the first numbers: 40% for leftist crimes, to around 8500, about 3% down on the right to around 17000. According to the report, just under 1900 people were injured in acts of violence. The media reported no fatalities. Interesting.

After the alarmist numbers, the report fizzles. As it turns out, just under half of the incidents on the right are "propaganda related", in other words, some peeps displaying insignia of banned organizations, doing the one armed bandit salute, and the like.

Defacing of campaign signs also counts as a political crime. And with national elections in 2013, there were enough easy objects around.

The wave of due alarm that swept the country went away largely because of even greater alarm due to the hostage crisis involving Germans in Ukraine.

A week after the crime statistics report, at least some papers did add a note that the German government is working on improving the statistical methods. Even lots of people in law enforcement have come to call the current collection and classification nonsensical.

Reassuringly boring in the end, you could say.

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