Crime in Germany

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Crime in Germany is combated by the German Police and other agencies.

General crime levels[edit]

In Germany's 2010 crime statistics, 5.93 million criminal acts were committed, down 2 percent from 2009.[1] According to the Interior Ministry, it's the first time the figure has fallen below 6 million offenses since 1991 (the year after reunification), and is the lowest crime level since records began.[1] The rate of crimes solved in 2010 was 56 percent, a record high, up from 2009's 55.6%.[1]

Internet related crime climbed 8.1 percent in 2010, with around 224,000 reported cases.[1] The number of homes broken into in 2010 was also up by 6.6 percent.[1]

By type[edit]

Organized crime in Germany[edit]

Organised crime in Germany refers to the activities of various groups of crime families and/or organised crime syndicates. Just as in other Western European countries, Germany has seen a rise in organized crime. The general public doesn't seem to be affected by activities carried out by organized criminal groups. Nevertheless, crimes such as drug trafficking, weapon trafficking, extortion, prostitution, money laundering and contract killing are present in most less well-maintained areas of urban centres such as Berlin, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Duisburg, Cologne or Düsseldorf. Organized crime groups in Germany include, but are not limited to, the following:

Italian organized crime[edit]

Ndrangheta, Camorra and Cosa Nostra all operate in Germany, with the Ndrangheta having the strongest presence. There are some estimated 1200 members of the Ndrangheta active in Germany, mostly in the cocaine trade. Apart from the Ndrangheta, the Neapolitan Camorra has also infiltrated the construction industry in Germany. Furtherly, there are also 5 Sicilian mafia groups active in the country, but they seem to have lost power.[2] Italian crime groups can mostly be found in the Ruhr district and in the east of Germany.

Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs[edit]

OMCG's such as Hells Angels, Bandidos, Gremium and more recently, Satudarah, Night Wolves are active throughout Germany. While not all members of motorcycle clubs are criminal, some are reputed to be well known faces in the red-light districts and in the bouncer-scene thus controlling a large chunk of the drug trade within bars and clubs.[2]

Albanian mafia[edit]

Albanian mafia families are active in some of the German urban centres, in particular Hamburg. They play an important role in the drug trade and the red light districts of the country. Although this is well-known to German security authorities, such as the (Bundesnachrichtendienst), they are unwilling to undertake an investigation against the Albanian criminal structures in Germany.

"Ethnic Albanians" (as the German police officially calls them), who come into Germany typically from Albania or the Republic of Macedonia or Kosovo, created for a very short time in the last decade of the century, a very powerful criminal network, says Manfred Quedzuweit, director of the Police Department for Fighting the Organized Crime in Hamburg. "Here, it could be heard that they are even more dangerous than Cosa Nostra.[18] Albanian "banks" in Germany are a special story. They are used for the transfer of money from Germany, which amounts to a billion of D-marks a year. One of these banks was discovered by accident by the Düsseldorf police while checking a travel agency "Eulinda" owned by the Albanians. "We haven't found a single travel related catalogue or brochure at the agency. The computers were nonfunctional, the printer had never been used. We found that "Eulinda" was a coverup for some other business", said high criminal counselor from Düsseldorf Rainer Bruckert. "Eventually we found out that "Eulinda" had already transferred $150 million to Kosovo—for 'humanitarian purposes'", says Bruckert. "Money was being transferred by the couriers in special waist belts with multiple pockets. So, in a single one-way trip, it was possible to carry up to six million D-marks."

BND reports state that Albanian Mafia activities are thoroughly spread throughout Germany. One mafia family in Hamburg, for instance, according to BND reports, has over "300 million euros in real estate portfolios". Further, the clan has considerable ties to police, judges and prosecutors in Hamburg.[3]

Russian mafia[edit]

Russian-speaking crime groups, in particular the Tambov gang are active in cities such as Düsseldorf. Especially money laundering, prostitution and extortion seem to be their activities of choice. Russian criminal activity doesn't only concern ethnic Russians but als Russian Jews which was evident with the arrest of Mikhail Rabo, a senior member of the Jewish community in Berlin and a high-ranking member of the Tambov gang.[4] Aside from the Russian groups, Georgian, Azerbaijani and Chechen crime groups are active in Germany as well. Very often these gangs and the Russian groups are named together in one breath even when they have little to do with each other.

Another major form of Russian-speaking organized crime in Germany consists of so-called criminal Aussiedler families. Aussiedlers are ethnic Germans (also called Volga Germans) that were born in the former Soviet Union. While a lot of Aussiedlers adapted well and quickly mastered the German language, a lot of families held unto the traditional lifestyle they lived in Russia and surrounding states. This led to the formation of individual as well as clan-based groups of Aussiedlers involved in organized criminal activities such as drug trafficking, extortion, prostitution, well as extreme violence. Due to the large number of Aussiedlers they are seen as the major form of Russian organized crime in Germany.[5]

Serbian mafia[edit]

The Zemun clan is active in Germany in drug trafficking and prostitution. Members are largely ethnic Serbs, some of them former soldiers, but Montenegrins and Bosniaks from the Serbian region of Sandzak are part of the ex-Yugoslavian gangs as well.[4]

Turkish and Kurdish organized crime[edit]

Turkish crime groups which consist of ethnic Turks and/or ethnic Kurds from Turkey are active throughout Germany in extortion, weapon trafficking and drug trafficking. Often the gangs can be linked to political groups from their home country, such as the Grey Wolves for right-wing Turks, PKK for Kurds and Dev Sol for left-wing Turks and Kurds.[4]

Middle Eastern crime clans[edit]

Middle Eastern crime clans have become a major player in the underworld of Germany since the mass emigration of large Middle Eastern families, also called Großfamilie. Especially in cities such as Berlin, Hamburg and Bremen Middle Eastern clans are highly active in the trafficking of heroin as well as being involved in the bouncer-scene.[2] Middle Eastern crime clans come from different backgrounds, but the most numerous of them are the Mhallami clans such as the Al-Zein Clan and the Miri clan among others. Outside of the Mhallami groups, Palestinian/Bedouin-Palestinian clans such as the Abou-Chaker clan,[6] Lebanese Shiite clans such as the Chahrour clan[7] and Afghan Pashtun clans such as the Ali-Khan clan [8] are active as well. Afghan crime groups are also common in Hamburg, a city with a large Afghan population.[9] Moroccan gangs on the other hand, often of Riffian descent have also been reported in Frankfurt.

Vietnamese crime groups[edit]

Vietnamese groups active in human trafficking and cigarette smuggling have been reported in Germany. Chinese Triads on the other hand have been reported but don't seem to have substantial power in Germany.[2]


Main article: Corruption in Germany

Transparency International’s Global corruption barometer 2013 reveals that political parties and businesses are the most corrupt institutions in Germany. The same report also indicates that petty corruption is not as uncommon as other European countries. The survey shows that 11% of the respondents claim to have been asked to pay a bribe at one point in their life and only few of those said that they had refused to pay the bribe.[10]

See also[edit]