Figures released by Germany’s federal government have revealed that last year—for the second year in a row—saw the number of politically-motivated crimes reach their highest level since the Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA) began recording statistics more than twenty years ago.
In total, 47,303 instances of politically-motivated crime were recorded across the country in 2021, an increase of 6% compared to the previous year’s total, according to preliminary data from the BKA that was released following a request to the federal government from Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) MP Martin Hess, FOCUS Online reports.
The considerable uptick observed, according to the security authorities, was not caused by an increase in extreme-Left or extreme-Right activity, but by an increasingly tense social climate which—amid the COVID-19 pandemic—has taken hold of German society.
While more than 19,000 crimes were reported to have been carried out by extremists from the far-Right, according to the figures, an ideological motivation could not be assigned to 17,000 instances of political criminality. Additionally, authorities say 9,000 criminal offenses were carried out by left-wing extremists.
In the past, some have taken issue with methods used by authorities to record politically-motived crime, suggesting that they’ve resulted in a large increase in crimes deemed to have been motivated by extreme-Right ideologies. One such instance, which was recorded by police as an extreme-Right hate crime, saw a teenage Afghan national perform a Hitler salute to German police officers.
On the more positive side, however, the BKA’s annual report revealed that fewer acts of politically-motivated violence were witnessed in 2021, having dropped by 6% from the previous year. According to last year’s figures, 1,047 acts of politically-motivated violence were attributed to suspects identified as extreme-Left, extreme-Right, radical Islamists, or supporters of a foreign ideology—like the Kurdish PKK.
Acts of political violence in 2021, however, nearly doubled those recorded in 2020, when the BKA documented 591 instances—all of which were unable to be assigned to an ideology. Additionally, violent crimes against public officials as well as state institutions more than doubled in 2020 compared to the previous year, German broadcaster ZDF reported.
Despite the mainstream liberal press largely ignoring the trend, politicians from the national-conservative AfD have been the main victims of political violence for years now. Since becoming a force in the federal parliament years ago, top politicians in the AfD have been assaulted in the streets, have had their vehicles torched, and have faced intimidation by Leftist mobs outside of their family homes.
In February of last year, federal police data revealed 694 violent attacks on AfD members took place in 2020, well over the second-most attacked political party—the Green Party. Per the report, the majority of attackers came from the Left.