Asylum seekers in former East Germany more likely to be victims of hate crime

In 2015, at the height of the economic crisis, Germany accepted approximately 1.1 million asylum seekers. Those who settled in eastern Germany were 10 times more likely to be the victim of a violent hate crime than those who settled in the west.

Eliza Archer
Eliza Archer NewsMavens, Europe
Asylum seekers in former East Germany more likely to be victims of hate crime - NewsMavens
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Why this story matters:

A report from the Leibniz Center for European Economic Research has released data that suggests that ten times as many violent hate crimes were committed against asylum seekers in the former East, when compared to the former west of Germany.

In the East, a violent hate crime was committed against 2-3 asylum seekers per 100,000 local residents. This is vastly different from the 0.4-0.6 incidents that occurred per 100,000 local residents in the West.

The researchers suggested that the east has historically displayed greater xenophobic attitudes, concluding that these preconceptions were well entrenched to change.

This research indicates that economic factors, which have often been cited as the reason for nationalistic and xenophobic attitudes, did not impact instances of violent crime. They stated that they found “no correlation with (economics) and hate crime directed at asylum seekers." However they did not rule out the possibility of a link between nationalistic and xenophobic attitudes and economic factors.

While some speculate that the data highlights a period of fear during the migration crisis, action across Germany, including the protests in Chemnitz, suggests that these views may not have softened but instead become increasingly negative.Equally, the research does not provide a breakdown of the gender of the victims or perpetrators. The addition of gender as a factor would be valuable when applying specific policy recommendations -- allowing for more targeted prevention. 

Details from the story:

  • The Leibniz Center for European Economic Research was responsible for the research.
  • The research examined hate crimes from 2013-2015 and concluded that asylum seekers who resided in former East Germany were ten times more likely to be victims of violent attacks than those who reside in the West of Germany.
  • Researchers suggested that lack of exposure to foreigners would increase the likelihood of an attack, continuing that the former East had historically had less exposure.
  • While the research found no correlation between violent crime against asylum seekers and economic factors.
  • The data was collected from 2013-15, in the midst of migration to Germany. The data then flat lines in 2016 and decreased in 2017-2018.
  • Researcher Martin Lange suggest that this confirms the study’s findings as “It may mean that there are less attacks on asylum seekers now because people are more used to the situation and maybe come into contact with asylum seekers more often.”
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