The state of Lower Saxony in Germany saw a 10.4 percent spike in crime during the height of the migration crisis in 2015 and 2016. A study conducted by the Zurich University of Applied Sciences and commissioned by Germany’s Ministry of Family Affairs found that police noted that 90 percent of the increase (not of the total number of violent crimes) could be attributed to migrants.
It was during those years that more than 1 million migrants entered Germany, stretching thin Germany’s social fabric. The study claims that a portion of the increase was because violent crimes committed by migrants were twice as likely to be reported compared to those committed by Germans.
The age of the migrants was also a contributing factor, according to the study’s authors. Men between the ages of 14 and 30 are more likely to commit violent crimes than those in other age brackets. The 14-30 bracket was the largest of its kind for migrants in Lower Saxony, which the study theorized was a contributing factor in the rising rate of violent crime and the increase in migrant arrivals in the state.
The study shows that there was a significant difference in behavior according to the migrants’ countries of origin. Men from Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria, say the authors, were significantly less likely to commit a violent crime than those from North Africa.
It was in the second half of 2015 that roughly 1 million migrants entered Germany. Many were fleeing war in the Middle East, or extreme poverty in Asia and Africa. Syria’s deadly civil war, which has claimed the lives of more than 300,000 people and displaced around half of the population, was one of the motivating factors of the exodus toward Germany. Also, when German Chancellor Angela Merkel suddenly decided to ignore European protocols and allow migrants asylum, rather than returning them to the first EU country they set foot in, exacerbated the crisis.
According to the recent study, migrants commit far more violent acts proportionally to their size of the population in Germany. According to the researchers, they accounted for suspects in one in every eight violent crime cases. The study noted that crimes committed in refugee centers are more likely to be reported due to the presence of social workers and security guards.
The authors of the study claim that the lack of women in the refugee centers has led to all-male environments that encourage “violent masculine norms of legitimacy.” To resolve the rise in crime, the researchers suggest that the government should provide sports and other social programs.