The number of suspected crimes by refugees, asylum-seekers and illegal immigrants rose to 174,438 in 2016 — an increase of 52.7 per cent, according to the interior ministry.
“This is not something to gloss over,” Thomas de Maiziere, the interior minister, said as he presented the figures. “Those who commit serious offences here forfeit their right to stay here.”
Crimes by migrants had “increased disproportionately” even when the huge influx into Germany under Angela Merkel’s “open-door” refugee policy was taken into account, he said.
“The proportion of foreign suspects, and migrants in particular, is higher than the average for the general population.”
But he said all invaders should not to blamed for the these crimes. “We cannot allow all refugees living among us to be put under general suspicion. The vast majority live with us and adhere to our rules and values.”
Migrants fleeing from Syria are statistically less likely to commit crimes than rejected asylum-seekers and illegal immigrants from elsewhere.
The highest crime rate was among migrants from the Balkans, Morocco, Algeria and the former Soviet Union, who have little chance of being granted asylum.
However, the figures were an unwelcome headline for Angela Merkel just five months before national elections.
Meanwhile Merkel appears to have shrugged off her unpopular refugee policy, which she promised last year would never be repeated.