Crime in Germany - statistics & facts

If a person witnesses or becomes the victim of a crime in Germany, the first step is to dial the national police emergency call number. According to official definitions, this number must always be called if feeling threatened, being in a dangerous situation or in the event of an emergency, whether unfolding or already taken place. Suspicion of a criminal act also constitutes reasonable grounds to call the police.

Based on data from 2021, around 5 million criminal offences were recorded by German police, compared to 5.3 million the previous year. Police crime statistics are compiled by the German Federal Criminal Police Office (Bundeskriminalamt). These statistics include all criminal offences known to the police, and also attempts to commit a crime. Minor breaches of the law are not included, neither are traffic offences and crimes against the state. Compared to earlier decades, German police has recorded a rising crime clearance rate.

The law defines different types of crime and the subsequent punishment. Depending on the case and the severity of the crime, punishment may take longer to determine and requires additional court proceedings. Among the criminal offences recorded by German police, the most common types were theft, street crime and fraud. Theft includes shoplifting, for example, while street crime essentially means criminal acts in a public space, outdoors. Common examples are vandalism or mugging.

The number of recorded violent crime cases in Germany has fluctuated in recent years, though numbers have generally gone down since the beginning of the 2000s. Violent crime is defined as that during which the victim is threatened or even harmed with violent force. While this type of crime varies by the means with which it is committed, it may also lead to bodily harm, murder or rape and sexual assault.


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