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Bloodstained street. Photo credit: Markus Gjengaar

Berlin: 2777 knife attacks in one year

Throughout Germany, knife crime has increased dramatically in recent years. Whether in the pedestrian zone or on the ICE, at fairs or in department stores – the uncertainty has grown dramatically because aggressive stabbers can now be expected anywhere. An open secret is that the perpetrators disproportionately often come from migrant milieus.

Published: December 5, 2022, 6:27 am

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    According to internal statistics from the Berlin police, the German capital of all places is now the undisputed Messer capital. Only at the weekend did the police deal with two cases in which knives were used.

    On November 25, a 27-year-old was first beaten up by two 26-year-olds on Warsaw Street in Friedrichshain and then seriously injured by several stabs in the upper body and abdomen. The police were able to place one of the perpetrators near the scene of the crime, and his accomplice was later overwhelmed by the special task force (SEK) in his apartment in the same district.

    The following night, police officers arrested three young people aged 15, 16 and 17 who had previously threatened and robbed two 15-year-olds in Pankow with a knife.

    Knife crimes have long been part of everyday life in Berlin, even if the police do not list all of the crimes in their reports and press releases.

    But for the first time, internal police reports and their evaluation have reached the public – and show the staggering extent of true knife crime in the capital. In the period between September 2 and October 14 alone, 84 cases were registered by officials. Of course, this is only part of what actually happened, because many victims do not report an attack to the police. They were either injured and seriously injured.

    The discussion about violence in public space has been heating up again as well as how this scourge can be countered. The Berlin head of the German police union, Bodo Pfalzgraf, called for a ban on knives in all public places. “Nobody who goes to the cinema or to a Christmas market needs to have a blade in their pocket.”

    However, he considers a general ban to be difficult – because the police would not be able to enforce it at all. “That has to be checked, the police are too few for that,” conceded Pfalzgraf.

    In the period mentioned, the districts of Pankow and Mitte stood out, closely followed by Neukölln and Kreuzberg. In 34 cases, the identity of the perpetrators is not known because they were either masked, were able to escape, or were arrested. In 19 cases the perpetrators were described as “Turks” or “Arabs”, twelve had a “Southern” appearance according to the description of the victims. In four cases, “dark skin color” was mentioned.

    The victims are children, young people and adults and the main motives are threats and predatory extortion. Police officers are also repeatedly exposed to knife attacks.

    The domestic policy spokesman for the CDU, Frank Balzer, drew a shocking conclusion: “Last year 33 people died in Berlin from knife attacks. The police counted 2 777 corresponding acts – uncounted are those that do not appear in the statistics because the perpetrator and the victim are silent.”

    If this continues, the future looks quite bleak. The police must be put in a position to take better action against the carrying and possession of knives. The number of children and young people who were caught with stabbing weapons is particularly alarming – 236 youths, 252 teenagers and 91 children have been recorded.

    An experienced officer who confided in the Berliner Zeitung (BZ) is not very optimistic because no one dares to address the real cause which is immigration. “Everyone publicly agrees but ultimately nothing will change. This topic has been discussed forever.”

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