Germany sees drop in crime during 1st year of pandemic


German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer presents the crime statistics report for 2020 during a news conference in Berlin, Germany, Thursday, April 15, 2021. (Annegret Hilse/Pool via AP)

BERLIN (AP) — Germany saw a drop in reported crime last year, partly due to pandemic restrictions that kept people indoors, although there was a rise in child abuse, domestic violence and cybercrime.

The country’s top security official, Horst Seehofer, said Thursday some 5.3 million crimes were reported in Germany in 2020. That’s a decrease of 2.3% compared to the previous year — driven by a significant drop in burglaries, robberies and auto thefts — continuing a downward trend since 2016, when the number of reported cases was about 6.3 million.

“The development is decidedly positive,” Seehofer told reporters in Berlin.

However, he noted that there was a rise in child abuse, cybercrime, fraud related to coronavirus support measures and in domestic violence. While violent crimes as a whole were down 2.4% compared with 2019, the number of homicides in Germany rose by 3.7% to 2,401 in 2020.

The case clearance rate rose slightly to 58.4%. The clearance rate for murder and manslaughter cases was 94.9%.

Seehofer said that he favors strong police crackdowns against anti-lockdown protesters who openly flout rules at protests, and said he expects Germany’s domestic intelligence agency to increase its scrutiny of such groupings.

Security officials have warned that the so-called Querdenker movement opposed to pandemic measures is becoming increasingly radicalized.

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