Why are refugees disproportionately likely to be suspects in sexual assault cases?

Source: The Local

Criminal statistics in Germany have shown that asylum seekers are suspects in rape and sexual assault cases at a rate higher than their representation in society as a whole. Experts discuss the problem.

The Bavarian interior ministry released figures earlier this month showing that 11 percent of all suspects in sex crimes in the first half of 2017 were people who had come to Germany seeking asylum.

This followed national figures from 2016 which showed that reported rape and sexual assault rose by 12.8 percent compared to the previous year. Of the 6,476 total suspects over 800 were asylum seekers, a figure much higher than the relative number of refugees is German society. In the same figures 38.8 percent of all suspects were not Germans, with suspects most likely to be Turkish (15.1 percent), Syrian (9.2 percent) or Afghani (8.6 percent).

“The first factor, which people generally are happy to forget, is the difference in how people report crimes,” argues Christian Pfeiffer, a criminologist at the Crime Research Institute of Lower Saxony.

“Locals are reported less for crimes than strangers because people feel more threatened by strangers.”

A second important aspect is age. Men under 40 are fundamentally more prone to violence and this age group is particularly highly represented among refugees. Around 40 percent of asylum seekers from North Africa are young men.

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