Police Admit: Sex Attacks in 12 of 16 German States
According to reports in German media on Saturday, the phenomenon of sexual violence paired with thievery was far more widespread on New Year’s Eve than previously thought.
Citing a confidential paper prepared for interior ministers by the BKA, the media said that the report covered “sexual offenses in public places in which the victims were also stolen from, including a type of con in which thieves approach victims and hug or otherwise surprise them, with the aim of distracting them in order to pick their pockets.”
In Bavaria, 27 such attacks were reported to police, mainly in Nuremburg and Munich. In Bremen, there were 11 reports, in Berlin 6, and in Baden-Wurttemberg 25. In Hesse, there were 31 cases of sexual assault, sexual insults, thefts, and attempted thefts.
The report, dated January 13, said Hamburg and North Rhine-Westphalia (the state where Cologne is located) reported the highest number of offenses.
In Hamburg there were 195 complaints, most of them for sexual offenses. Investigators in North Rhine-Westphalia reported 1,076 crimes altogether, mainly in the cities of Cologne, Dusseldorf, and Bielefeld. That number included 692 bodily harm or property offenses and 384 sexual offenses.
Similar incidents were reported in Lower Saxony, Brandenburg, Saxony, Rhineland-Palatinate, and Saarland. Federal police, who patrol main railway stations, reported 43 such notifications.
Though the suspects have not been identified, they had been reported as being men of Moroccan, Algerian, or Tunisian origin. Across the country the victims were almost always female and the suspects were men aged between about 17 and 30.
A team of “super recognizers” from Scotland Yard so named for their unique ability to pick out faces in a crowd, have been asked by Cologne police to analyze video footage of the New Year’s Eve attacks, DW reported.
The report also pointed out that the police forces used all manner of manipulation to avoid calling the criminals nonwhite.
For example, Baden-Wuerttemberg described one set of suspects as a “US American and an Algerian,” another group was described as “suspects who appeared to look Arab.”
In Hesse, suspects were described as “men of North African/Arab/southern European/eastern European appearance.”
A report from North Rhine-Westphalia spoke of an “appearance of a migration background” and an “appearance of being foreign” without, as the Deutsche Welle said, “elaborating what exactly that meant or how it was possible to determine someone’s nationality by looking at them.”
The investigators concluded that the nature of the reported thefts was a new form of criminality which up until now had not been widely experienced across Germany. The report’s authors noted, however, that it provided only a snapshot of the situation, which continued to be “dynamic.”