Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere said crimes committed by refugees had "increased disproportionately" last year
BERLIN, April 24 (Reuters) - The number of
migrant criminal suspects in Germany soared
by more than 50 percent in 2016, data from the
Interior Ministry showed on Monday - a
statistic that could boost support for the
anti-immigration party five months ahead
of a federal election.
More than a million migrants have arrived
in Germany in the last two years. Fears about
security and integration initially pushed up
the poll ratings of the right-wing Alternative
for Germany (AfD), but the party's support
has slipped as the rate of arrivals has slowed.
The number of suspects classed as immigrants
- those applying for asylum, refugees, illegal
immigrants and those whose deportation has
been temporarily suspended - rose to
174,438, 52.7 percent more than the previous
The number of German suspects declined
by 3.4 percent to 1,407,062.
Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere said
crimes committed by refugees had "increased
disproportionately" last year and warned:
"Those who commit serious offences here
forfeit their right to stay here."
But he said some migrants committed
multiple offences, distorting the statistics,
and that most migrants lived peacefully and
and obeyed German law.
Migrants accounted for 8.6 percent of all
crime suspects in Germany in 2016, up
from 5.7 percent the previous year.
De Maiziere said one reason for the high
crime rate among migrants was likely to
be their accommodation situation. In 2016
many were living in makeshift shelters or
sharing crowded rooms.
The number of attacks on refugee homes
has declined for the first time since data
started being collected in 2014. Some 995
were carried out in 2016, compared with
1,031 the previous year.
Crimes motivated by Islamism increased
by 13.7 percent, the report showed. In
December a failed Tunisian asylum seeker
who had pledged allegiance to Islamic
State drove a truck into a Berlin Christmas
market, killing 12 people.
(Reporting by Michelle Martin; editing
by Andrew Roche)