Immigration and crime. The general criticism in the press of a tweet by Donald Trump, accused of having broadcast a "fake news", has overshadowed an indisputable fact: migrants, who have arrived massively since 2015, are responsible for a significant increase in crime. Explanations.
Donald Trump recently split a tweet in which he claimed that crime had increased in Germany and suggested that it was due to the influx of migrants from 2015. He was immediately severely criticized in the press, in the United States, as in France, on the ground that this statement is false.
It is true that, according to the latest figures from the German Federal Police, crime dropped significantly in Germany last year. We see this very clearly on this graph which shows the evolution of the number of crimes recorded by the police since 2001. Therefore, strictly speaking, the declaration of the American president is indeed false, which was quickly noted by the media.
The number of violent crimes has increased significantly in Germany just after the arrival of migrants and this increase is almost entirely attributable to them.
On the other hand, the latter have shown much less eagerness to examine the question of the effect of migrants on crime in Germany, which is not quite the same. Indeed, the fact that crime has fallen in Germany last year does not mean that, other things being equal, migrants have not increased crime.
In fact, according to the same figures that the media used to criticize Donald Trump's statement, the number of violent crimes has increased significantly in Germany just after the arrival of migrants and this increase is almost entirely attributable to these.
In fact, in 2016, the number of violent crimes recorded by the police increased by about 6.7%, while it decreased by only about 2.3% in 2017. This phenomenon can be seen in the following graph, which shows the evolution of the number of violent crime recorded by the police since 2001.
Thus, despite the drop in 2017, there are still more violent crimes today than before the arrival of migrants.
This same graph also shows that, before the start of the migrant crisis, violent crime had been declining steadily for several years in Germany. This trend was abruptly halted in 2014, before the number of violent crimes increased very rapidly from 2015, when Angela Merkel made the decision to open the gates of Germany to more than one million migrants .
Of course, this could be the effect of chance, but the figures clearly show that this is not the case and that migrants are responsible for this phenomenon. In addition, looking at the issue a little closer, we find that, while crime has fallen in Germany last year, it is despite the presence of migrants that have the effect of significantly increasing the number of crimes in the country.
First, according to Ines Laufer's estimates from 2016 figures, asylum seekers are involved as suspected by the police at a rate more than 7 times higher than that of the Germans. In the case of violent crimes, which we have seen to have increased after the arrival of migrants, they are involved by the police at about 15 times the rate of the Germans ...
To distinguish crimes committed by Germans from those committed by foreigners
The overcrime of migrants is therefore not a myth of the far right, as we often hear, but indeed a reality. On the other hand, although it is obvious that the fact that migrants have demographic and socio-economic characteristics different from Germans plays a role in this overcrime, that does not explain everything, contrary to what suggested some.
Moreover, even if it explains the whole difference, it would not change the fact that, all things being equal, the arrival of migrants has increased crime in Germany. It does not matter to someone who has been assaulted that his attacker has acted because of his poverty, his young age or because he is a man. In any case, the aggression has still occurred and the victim must live with the consequences.
It remains that, despite the overcriminality of asylum seekers who arrived en masse from 2015, crime has nevertheless decreased in 2017. How can we explain this paradox? It suffices to look at the figures a little closer and in particular to distinguish the crimes committed by Germans from those committed by foreigners.
We have seen above that, before the arrival of migrants, crime in general and violent crime in particular had declined continuously in Germany for several years. This phenomenon is explained by the fact that, during this period, the number of crimes committed by Germans has dropped significantly.
This is shown in the following graph, which shows the evolution of the number of German suspects identified by the police.
The same is true for violent crime.
This is a phenomenon that is not specific to Germany but is observed in most European countries. However, as crime fell among Germans, the number of crimes committed by foreigners increased very rapidly.
It is clear that the increase coincides with the beginning of the migrant crisis. I say that this is not an artificial result, due to the increase in the number of offenses against the law on foreigners, because I systematically excluded these crimes from my analysis.
We also observe the same thing if we examine only the foreign suspects implicated by the police in a violent crime.
Certainly, the victims of these crimes are probably other foreigners in many cases and therefore we can not say that all these crimes have reduced the welfare of the Germans, but it is far from always the case.
In fact, according to the distribution of suspects identified by the police, the proportion of foreigners among criminals has reached a level not seen since 2001.
It is even more important in the case of violent crime.
Of course, the number of suspects is an imperfect indicator, but the evolution is sufficiently clear in the data so that we can not attribute it to a measurement error.
This increase in the proportion of foreigners among perpetrators is out of proportion to the increase in the foreign population during the same period. Although there seems to be an important heterogeneity within this group, recent immigrants have clearly higher crime rates than Germans or even most foreigners who were already present in Germany.
We are now able to understand why crime has fallen in 2017, despite the presence of a large number of migrants with a very high crime rate. In fact, the number of crimes committed by Germans has never stopped falling in recent years (except for violent crimes since 2015), but the arrival of more than one million migrants in 2015, especially in the second half of the year, more than offset this decline the following year, although only in the case of violent crime. Indeed, even though immigrants in general and asylum seekers in particular have very high crime rates, they still remain a small minority of the German population, so the trend in German crime tends to to hide the number of crimes committed by foreigners.
There is no doubt that immigrants increase crime
The drop in crime in 2017 has almost nothing to do with migrants, whose crime rates continue to be much higher than that of Germans and undoubtedly increase crime in Germany. It simply results from the continued decline in German crime, which began well before the migrant crisis. As after 2015 the number of migrants who entered Germany collapsed, the effect of the decline in German crime again dominated. In the same way, if I steal 500 € and someone else gives you 1500 €, in total you have won 1000 €. But that's not to say that you would not have been 500 € richer if I had not been there ...
As a result, contrary to what many commentators have said, who loudly applauded the fall in crime in Germany last year, this does not mean that immigrants in general and asylum seekers in particular do not increase crime. As we have seen, there is no doubt that this is the case. However, if there are many people to explain that the statement of Donald Trump is false, the commentators do not seem however to jostle to recall this truth.