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Politically motivated crime in Germany - statistics & facts

The German Bundeskriminalamt (BKA, Federal Criminal Police Office) defines politically motivated crime, in summary, as those criminal offences which aim at achieving or hindering political aims, are against the free basic democratic order and directed against other people for reasons having to do with their political views, nationality, ethnic background, skin color, religious affiliation, social status, physical and mental disabilities, sexual orientation or appearance. Specific criminal acts are then divided into politically motivated crime based on the concrete motivation and targets of the criminal: left-wing, right-wing, foreign and religious ideology. According to the BKA, terrorist acts represent the most extreme form of politically motivated crime. The total number of recorded politically motivated criminal offences in Germany has fluctuated in the last 15 years, peaking in 2016 at 41,549. Politically motivated criminal offences also include violent offences.

Right-wing extremism

The number of right-wing extremists in Germany has generally grown in recent years. These are divided by the type of organization to which they belong and the ideology for which they express support. In 2019, there were 13,000 right-wing German extremists classified as violence-oriented or "ready for violence". That same year, 22,342 right-wing criminal offences were recorded in Germany, as well as 986 right-wing violent acts. Of criminal offences with a right-wing extremist background, by type, the highest number of offences related to propaganda. Right-wing extremist criminal offences also include acts against German asylum homes, with 126 recorded offences in 2019. Of these, 14 were violent.

Left-wing extremism

The number of left-wing extremists in Germany has also grown across different categories since 2016, amounting to 34,500 in 2019. Of these, 900 were classified as anarchists and 9,200 were considered violence-oriented. The number of left-wing extremist criminal offences recorded in 2019 amounted to 6,449. Of these, 921 were violent. Both figures were lower than the previous year. Of non-violent left-wing extremist criminal offences, the most common type recorded in 2019 was property damage, at 3,520 cases. That same year, among violent acts, the highest number was committed against police and law enforcement at 467.


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