Trumping Trump The Truth About German Crime Statistics


U.S. President Donald Trump tweeted that the German crime rate had risen by 10 percent because of refugees in the country. He’s wrong. We took a closer look at just how wrong.

U.S. President Donald Trump


U.S. President Donald Trump

Earlier this week, U.S. President Donald Trump fired off two tweets that painted an apocalyptic image of the security situation in Germany, one he alleged was the result of the wave of refugees to have come to the country in the last several years. On Monday, Trump wrote that crime in Germany was “way up” and that the “big mistake” of allowing in refugees had “strongly and violently changed” European culture.

He followed up that tweet with another one on Tuesday, claiming that crime in Germany had risen by 10 percent, but that “officials do not want to report these crimes.”

German Chancellor Angela Merkel was quick to reject Trump’s allegations, pointing to recent crime statistics published in the country. “We have seen a slightly positive development,” Merkel said. More needs to be done, she insisted, but the numbers were encouraging.

Where does the truth lie? We have compiled answers to the most important questions.

How has number of recorded crimes developed over time?

When speaking of “crime” as Trump does, the reference is usually to criminal offenses recorded in the Police Criminal Statistics (PKS) kept by the Federal Criminal Police Office. But a look at German crime statistics provided by the police shows that there has never been a 10 percent jump at any point in the last 25 years in Germany, neither prior to nor after the large wave of refugee arrivals in 2014, 2015 and 2016. In those years, crime did rise by a few percentage points each year, but from 2016 to 2017, the number of recorded crimes actually dropped by around 10 percent.

This graphic shows the development since 1994:


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