WIf you want to get an idea of crime in Germany, you can’t do without the police crime statistics (PKS). However, the picture that the PKS has painted every year since 1953 is not complete. It only shows crimes that have been reported: the so-called bright field. The dark field of crime has not been systematically investigated in Germany so far. In the future, the study “Security and Crime in Germany” should close this gap. Holger Münch, President of the Federal Criminal Police Officeexpressed it on Tuesday when he presented the results together with Federal Minister of the Interior Nancy Faeser (SPD): “We bring light into the dark field.”
A good 46,000 people were interviewed throughout Germany for the first survey wave; In the future, the survey is to be repeated every two years. According to Münch and Faeser, this became necessary above all because the crime is fundamentally changing. While the PCS for classic offenses such as theft or violent crime has been declining for years, the number of criminal offenses in the digital sphere is constantly increasing – by 66 percent in the past ten years.
One in three is afraid of criminals in cyberspace
At the same time, cybercrime often takes place in the dark. According to Interior Minister Faeser, only every tenth crime is reported. BKA President Münch summarized the development on Tuesday as follows: “We are observing a digitization of crime and thus a shift in crime to the dark field.”
The new numbers now give an idea of how big the problem is. According to this, within a year before the survey, 13.5 percent of those surveyed were victims of criminals in cyberspace. The fear of it is also widespread. One in three respondents fears that this could happen to them in the next twelve months. A good one in four does not conduct financial transactions on the Internet for fear of criminals. Accordingly, Münch called cyberspace “one of the major challenges for the security authorities”. The police must expand their resources in this area.
In cyberspace, however, it is not just the number of police officers who investigate there that matters, but also the powers they are equipped with. This was pointed out by Faeser, who once again campaigned for data retention to be used, particularly in the fight against sexualized violence against children – within the framework permitted by the case law of the European Court of Justice. Looking at that of Minister of Justice Marco Buschmann (FDP) favored and legally less vulnerable Quick Freeze method, she said: “Quick Freeze is not a substitute for the storage of IP addresses.”
Almost 60 percent of women avoid certain places
The study also asked Germans about their sense of security. Overall, this is “at a high” level, as Faeser emphasized. However, the minister was not satisfied with the result, especially with regard to the statements made by women. While more than 80 percent of the men surveyed stated that they felt safe alone in their living environment at night, this only applies to a good 60 percent of the women.
The proportion of women who avoid certain places is almost 60 percent among women, twice as high as among men. Faeser said: “You cannot accept that women restrict themselves because they do not feel safe.” She campaigned for increased police presence in certain places and an expansion of video surveillance.
According to the study, the image that the population has of the police is predominantly positive. Between 80 and 90 percent of respondents agreed with statements such as “The police are there when I need them” or “The police make fair and impartial decisions”. Against the background of cases of police violence and racism within the police, however, one in four also said that the police are influenced by prejudice and do not treat Germans and foreigners equally. Faeser took this as evidence that the police had to become more diverse and that more had to be done to combat prejudice among police officers.