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Monday, March 6, 2017

Austria: Migrant Crime Increased by 54%


By Vincent van den Born

According to Austrian Kronen Zeitung, the crime statistics, published by the Ministry of the Interior on 6 March, present an overall unpleasant picture. Although police have been able to solve more crime than in any other year during the past decade, they still only manage to solve under 46%. 

Meanwhile, Interior Minister Wolfgang Sobotka reported that the number of reported crimes rose to 537,792, up 3.8% from last year. The newspaper calls the number of reported crimes in which asylum seekers are involved “particularly alarming” with a rise of 54%. Most offences were committed by Afghans, with 5072 of them suspected of a crime in 2016.

According to the criminal statistics, most complaints, 1622, were filed against perpetrators between 14 and 17 years of age. 1208 complaints were filed against migrants aged between 18 and 20. Besides Afghans, asylum seekers from Algeria, Morocco, Nigeria and Syria come into contact with the police, mostly committing petty theft (4684 cases), followed by cases involving bodily harm and drug related incidents.

Burglaries are less popular: the number of reported burglaries went down 16.4%, the lowest level in ten years. Most perpetrators in this category are foreign as well: Mostly Romanians, followed by Serbians, Georgians, Albanians and Croats. An increase (almost 7%) can be seen in crimes involving violence, with two out of three cases having a domestic background. According to the figures, foreigners, again play a major role, with most cases the result of disputes among migrants. 

Additionally, almost 2000 cases of minor bodily injuries were recorded. Knives, by the way, are most popular. Police were very successful in solving these cases though: according to Sobotka, an 83.9% rate of solved crimes is proof of great investigative work by the police.

A touch sarcastically, Krone Zeitung writes that the ministry wants to work hard to make Austria even safer. The number of police officers will be increased by more than 1500, with investments in equipment to the tune of €110 million. Sobotka, however, also expects the population to be vigilant and to be given more rights when it comes to security issues. This is intended to strengthen the confidence and trust of the Austrians in the government. According to Sobotka: “it takes a society that sees things, and not one of looking away.” - Really, how un-European an attitude is that!