Police crime statistics for 2012: Once again fewer than six million crimes and fewer suspects
15 May 2013
The Federal Minister of the Interior, Dr Hans-Peter Friedrich, and Lower Saxony’s Interior Minister Boris Pistorius, chair of the Standing Conference of state interior ministers, presented the Police Crime Statistics (PKS) for 2012 at a national press conference in Berlin.
Again in 2012, as in the previous two years, fewer than six million crimes were registered. The number of crimes in 2012 rose slightly over the previous year (2011: 5,990,679 crimes; 2012: 5,997,040 crimes). The clearance rate also remained nearly unchanged at 54.4 % (2011: 54.7 %).
In a welcome trend, the number of suspects continued to fall as in the preceding two years; in 2012, this number was 0.9 % lower than in 2011 (2,094,118). More than one-quarter (26.9 %) were apprehended by the police as suspects in more than one crime.
The positive trend of recent years continued with regard to homicide (a drop of 3.4 %, to 3,028 cases) and sexual offences (a drop of 2.7 %, to 45,824 cases). The same applies to other violent crimes, which fell by 1.0 % to 195,143 cases. This change is primarily due to a decrease in the number of cases of dangerous and serious bodily injury by 2.2 %, to 136,077 cases.
Federal Minister of the Interior Friedrich stated:
“Germany is one of the safest countries in the world. But every offence and every victim is one too many. So we must pay special attention to those areas where the number of crimes is noticeably rising, such as domestic burglary (up 8.7 % over the previous year; clearance rate 15.7 %). Surveys indicate that burglary has a far-reaching psychological impact: Roughly 70 % of victims have psychological problems resulting from the violation of their home and privacy and theft of personally meaningful objects. The Federal Criminal Police Office is currently drawing up a situation report to serve as the basis for further discussion with the state interior ministers and help them in their efforts to fight this type of crime more effectively.”
As in previous years, theft accounts for the largest proportion of crimes at 39.7 %, even though the number of cases fell by 1 % compared to the previous year. With regard to vehicle crime, the number of vehicles stolen fell by 9.3 % to 37,238. A similar positive development was seen with regard to shoplifting, where the number of cases fell by 6.6 % to 345,873.
The federal and state police are increasingly dealing with cybercrime, that is, offences committed with the help of modern information and communications technology, for example data spying and theft or the use of malware to manipulate data or damage computers. In 2012, the number of such crimes rose by 7.5 % to 63,959 cases; the number of unreported crimes is likely to be high.
“The types of threats are multiplying and the costs resulting from damage are increasing. Cyber criminals operate flexibly and in anonymity. Security policy must respond accordingly. We cannot let up in our efforts,” Federal Minister Friedrich stressed.
On a more positive note, the number of young crime suspects (14- to 17-year-olds) again fell, this time by 6.7 % to 200,257 (2011: 214,736). The number of young people suspected of violent crimes fell even further, by 14.6 % to 27,097 (2011: 31,730). In the sub-category of dangerous and serious bodily injury, the number of young suspects dropped as much as 16.5 % to 21,066 (2011: 25,222). Federal Minister Friedrich:
“This further drop in the number of cases shows that our wide range of efforts to fight violent crime is bearing fruit. I am referring to the tireless work by the police and judicial authorities as well as countless government and non-governmental prevention projects.”
State interior ministers step up the fight against domestic burglary
Interior Minister Pistorius, chair of the Standing Conference of state interior ministers, explained,
“Last year alone, the insurance industry estimated the costs of domestic burglary at € 600 million. But on national average, only one in six cases was solved in 2012, or only 15.7 % of all cases. That is not enough. In many cases, the police have no leads. The interior ministers and senators of the federal states are resolved to take rigorous action. A task force commissioned by the interior ministries is analysing the issue of domestic burglaries and drawing up additional strategies. The police have already intensified their investigations of break-ins, improving interregional information-sharing and the quality of evidence gathered at crime scenes.
“But it should also be noted that more than one-third of all domestic burglaries, in fact 39.1 % in 2012, were able to be prevented. This shows that it pays to use the right security technology for doors and windows, and that having alert neighbours can help. This is where we need to start and in future pay greater attention to prevention and public information. Everyone should know how to protect their home against break-ins. That is the aim of the public information campaign on alert neighbours (Lower Saxony) and the nation-wide campaign on preventing break-ins.
“When you get in your car, the first thing you reach for is your safety belt. And taking a few simple precautions like locking the front door and closing windows when leaving your home even for a short time must become as automatic as fastening your seat belt. Successful prevention requires a comprehensive approach starting with residents, both renters and home-owners, and including home-builders and local housing authorities (Lower Saxony’s approach). Preventing domestic burglaries is a task in which we are all called on to look out for each other and be on the alert! We owe it to the victims.”