COVID-19 measures lead to a slight increase in violence against police in Germany

In 2021, 39,649 violent acts against the police were recorded in Germany. This represents an increase of 1.8% compared to the previous year, and the continuation of a slight upward trend since 2014 (with the exception of 2017). The Länder with the largest increases were Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania (31%), Hesse (19.1%) and Berlin (15.4%), while Baden-Württemberg (-2.1%) and Bavaria (-6.3%) experienced declines. Interestingly, the latter experienced the highest number of murders (4 cases, 6 victims[1]) and violent robberies (20 cases, 25 victims).

There were 88,626 victims of this crime (4.5% more than the previous year), of which 79.3% were men, and 49.5% were between the ages of 25 and 35 years old. The vast majority of violent acts (87%) occurred as resistance to police interventions.

The aggressors were mainly male (84.2%), German (70.6%) and over 25 years old (69.6%). 75.6% of those arrested were persons known to the police. The percentage of immigrants detained for these offences fell by 9.6%, while that of illegal residents and asylum seekers fell by 5.2%.

The criminal typologies of the attacks include murder, homicide, injuries (intentional and negligent), violent robbery, coercion, illegal detention, threats, resistance, and attacks on law enforcement officers. However, it should be noted that the crimes with the highest rate of violence decreased: murder (-6), homicide (-27), violent robbery (-27) and simple or minor injuries (-612). The most significant increases are found in resistance against authorities in the exercise of their duties, in its different versions (48%).

The clearest cause of this increase seems to be the restrictive mobility measures decreed to combat COVID-19, which were frequently contested by the population. The increases in violent acts coincide (with some exceptions) with the months in which tighter restrictions were in place due to the pandemic.

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[1] The murders were not necessarily consummated.


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