The number of crimes committed by migrants surged 52.7% in Germany last year, new statistics said, fueling a sharp rise in violent offenses and highlighting the challenges facing Chancellor Angela Merkel and other pro-immigration politicians in coming elections.
Migrants, defined as refugees and rejected asylum seekers, committed 174,438 crimes in 2016, up from 114,238 a year earlier, according to police figures released Monday. Over the same period, crimes committed by German citizens declined 3.4% to 1.41 million.
The numbers come five months before a general election in Germany that is expected to be heavily influenced by the recent large inflow of refugees. More than one million asylum seekers entered Germany in the two years ended in December.
Anti-immigration parties and some members of Merkel’s conservative-led coalition have argued that Berlin’s relatively generous refugee policies had left the country more susceptible to crime and terror attacks. Karsten Woldeit, a politician for the anti-immigration Alternative for Germany in Berlin, said his party “predicted and warned about this development after the uncontrolled entry of hundreds of thousands of migrants in 2015.”
An expanded version of this report appears at WSJ.com.
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