Politically motivated crime in Germany - Statistics & Facts

The German Bundeskriminalamt (BKA, Federal Criminal Police Office) defines, in summary, those criminal offences as politically motivated crime 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. The number fell to 39,505 in 2017. Politically motivated criminal offences also include violent offences, of which there were a total of 3,754 in 2017.

The number of right-wing extremists in Germany has generally grown in recent years, amounting to 25,250 recorded persons in 2017. These are divided by the type of organization to which they belong and the ideology for which they express support. In 2017, there were 12,700 right-wing German extremists classified as violence-oriented. That same year, 20,520 right-wing criminal offences were recorded in Germany, as well as 1,130 right-wing violent acts. In both cases, the statistics show a drop in numbers compared to the year before. Of criminal offences with a right-wing extremist background, by type, the highest number of offences related to propaganda at 11,894. Right-wing extremist criminal offences also include acts against German asylum homes, with 312 recorded offences in 2017. Of these, 46 were violent. Based on a national survey conducted in 2018, 72 percent of respondents were of the opinion that German politics and policies do not contribute enough to combat right-wing extremism in the country.

The number of left-wing extremists in Germany has also grown across different categories since 2013, amounting to 30,400 in 2017. Of these, 800 were classified as anarchists and 9,000 were considered violence-oriented. There are also foreign left-wing extremists living in Germany, with a total of 18,050 as of 2017. Of these, 600 belong to the Marxist-Leninist Communist Party and 14,500 are part of The Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK). The number of left-wing extremist criminal offences recorded in 2017 amounted to 6,393. Of these, 1,648 were violent. Both figures were higher than the previous year. Of non-violent left-wing extremist criminal offences, the most common type recorded in 2017 was property damage, at 3,190 cases. That same year, among violent acts, the highest number was committed against police and law enforcement at 1,135.

Interesting statistics

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Politically motivated crime in Germany

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Important key figures

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Right-wing extremism

Left-wing extremism

Foreign ideology and antisemitism

Infographics on the topic

Politically motivated crime in Germany Infographic - Anti-Semitic violence on the rise in Germany