Clan crime has become more common in Germany

Das situation picture organized crime does not contain good news, at least at first glance. The number of preliminary investigations rose by 17.2 percent, and the police conducted 696 investigations last year. The number of suspects has increased, there were 7503 people, 14.9 percent more than in the previous year. And the total damage exceeded the two billion euro mark for the first time ever. Almost half of organized crime groups were involved in drug-related crime.

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At second glance, the news is a little less grim. The increased numbers do not necessarily mean that there is more crime, it may also be that the dark field has been illuminated somewhat. In any case, there are some indications that this is the case. The Federal Criminal Police Office has announced that international partners have been making encrypted communication available since the beginning of 2020, which has now been evaluated together with the federal states. A quarter of all investigations initiated in the area of ​​organized crime can be traced back to data from the communication service EncroChat, which has since been switched off.

“The pressure on organized crime in Germany is higher than ever before,” said Interior Minister Nancy Faeser (SPD) on Tuesday. She warned against underestimating the dangers, even if they are less visible than the actions of extremists or terrorists. “Our goal is the sustainable dismantling of criminal structures, the consistent skimming off of criminal income and the creation of the necessary framework conditions.”

Breaking it down could become even more difficult in the future. As can be seen from the situation report, the perpetrators usually organize themselves in groups of up to ten people. Such small groups make up more than two-thirds of all organized crime groups. Almost a third consists of groups of up to 50 people. The largest group identified in 2021 included 182 people.

The management report at a glance

  • More procedures: Like the one from the Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA) shows that the number of investigations against criminal gangs in Germany in 2021 has increased by around 17 percent to 696 compared to the previous year. The main reason for this development is information derived from criminals’ secret communications decrypted in 2020, primarily via the provider Encrochat. In 2020, the police in the Netherlands and France managed to skim more than 20 million secret messages. As a result, numerous drug dealers were also convicted in Germany.
  • More guns: Another development that worries the police is the increasing arming of members of OC groups. While the proportion of armed suspects was still around 6.4 percent in 2020, a weapon was seized from 7.5 percent of suspects last year. Numerous weapons were also confiscated during searches of suspected members of the now banned rocker-like group “United Tribuns” in the past week.
  • Greater Brutality: According to the police, members of OC groups are increasingly resorting to drastic methods to intimidate “debtors” and assert themselves against rival criminal gangs. The situation report states: “In one process, a person cut up the face of a “business partner” with a carpet knife in front of the camera and showed the video to intimidate another person involved in the crime.”
  • More financial damage: The Federal Criminal Police Office put the financial damage caused by OC groups last year at 2.2 billion euros. For comparison: In the previous year, the total was around 837 million euros. One reason is the high number of fraud offenses. According to the BKA, the fact that these have increased sharply shows how quickly some criminal gangs react to new opportunities to commit crimes. The number of procedures in which references to the corona pandemic were identified tripled in 2021 compared to the year before. “This increase is largely due to the unlawful application for and use of emergency corona aid from the federal government,” it says.
  • mafia groups: The number of suspects assigned to various Italian groups has more than doubled. Last year, the police identified 319 suspects here.
  • clan crime: More than 70 percent of the 34 investigations in this area were concentrated in the federal states of Berlin, North Rhine-Westphalia, Bremen and Lower Saxony. There, “criminal structures of clan crime had become particularly entrenched,” according to the situation report, which depicts the situation in 2021. The structures “must not solidify any further,” said Faeser. Important elements of the fight are a high police presence at certain focal points, “video surveillance at appropriate locations can also be a useful tool”. The message must be sent here: “The rule of law cannot be played around on its face.”

The Greens chairman in the Interior Committee of the Bundestag, Marcel Emmerich, said that it was not the origin, “but the social situation such as educational opportunities and access to the labor and housing market that drive young people in particular to commit crime”. According to the BKA, criminal clan members “use connections to the original countries of origin to commit crimes, but also as a potential retreat in the event of criminal prosecution”.

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