Far-right vigilantes could face terror charges

Federal prosecutors in Karlsruhe confirmed on Friday that they had requested files on members of a far-right Bürgerwehr (vigilante group) in Freital, Saxony, who could face terrorism charges.

Far-right vigilantes could face terror charges
Anti-asylum demonstrators face off with police in Freital, Saxony, in June 2015. Photo: DPA

While federal authorities have yet to take over the case from state prosecutors in Saxon capital Dresden, the investigation is a step towards the group facing a trial at the federal level.

The files cover two cases against a total of five men and one woman aged between 18 and 40.

They are accused of attacking refugee accommodations and refugee aid workers.

Dresden-based prosecutors had flagged up the case to their federal colleagues in Karlsruhe because they suspected it could qualify for the serious crime of “forming a terrorist group”.

One of the two cases concerns an attack on an asylum accommodation centre on the outskirts of Freital, which became notorious in summer 2015 as a hotspot of anti-refugee sentiment after weeks-long demonstrations against refugee accommodations and repeated attacks against asylum seekers.

The case also covers an attack using explosives and butyric acid against an “alternative living project” for refugee supporters in Dresden.

The state trial against the five suspects – men aged 18, 24, 27 and 29, and a 27-year-old woman – had been due to start imminently, but the charges were withdrawn to allow the federal prosecutors time to examine the files.

One of the accused in the first case, the 27-year-old man, is also believed to have been involved in a case of serious bodily harm against refugee supporters.

He and two other men are accused of a baseball bat attack against people who took part in a welcome demonstration in Dresden last summer.

One of the victims was the son of the deputy Minister-President of Saxony, Martin Dulig.

Police raids by the Politically Motivated Crimes Unit (PMK) and Anti-Extremism Unit (OAZ) in Freital and Dresden in November and March turned up explosives, Nazi memorabilia and computers.

The OAZ released figures on Tuesday reporting that it had investigated 208 cases with a far-right political background and solved 123 of them in 2015, broadcaster MDR reported.


Which parts of Munich are the worst for crime?

Bavaria’s capital, Munich, is a great place to live and work, and most who live there think it’s safe. However, it’s worth knowing where and what kinds of crime occur in the city. 

Which parts of Munich are the worst for crime?

The good news is that in 2021, Munich was listed in the top 10 safest cities in the world by Numbeo, a crowdsourcing survey site dedicated to understanding perceptions of different cities and countries

However, that only captures popular sentiment. To understand where crime is happening, we must look at the statistics recorded by the city itself.

According to data provided by the city of Munich, around 60,150 crimes were reported to the police throughout the course of 2022. Each was categorised according to location and the type of crime. 

READ ALSO: Fact check – is crime really on the rise in Germany?

Aerial view of flats in Munich

An aerial view of Munich. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Sina Schuldt

The inner-city district of Ludwigsvorstadt, on the banks of the Isar, recorded the most crimes with 8,971 offences. Petty theft was the most common crime at 1,903, with crimes against personal freedoms – constituting verbal harassment based on race or religion – in second place at 1,577. Five physical and 174 sexual assaults were reported in 2022. 

The north-east district of Schwabing-Freimann recorded the second-highest number of crimes in 2022. Again, petty theft led to recorded incidents at 993, while crimes against personal freedoms followed behind at 850. 816 incidents of more severe property theft were recorded. Two physical assaults and 84 sexual assaults were recorded. 

The city’s historic centre, Altstadt-Lehei, came in third place regarding criminal incidents. Once more, petty theft led to 2,468 recorded incidents, with crimes against personal freedoms in second place at 1,306. A total of 863 incidents of most severe property theft were recorded. Nine physical assaults took place, and 113 sexual assaults. 

What about other areas?

While crime levels remain relatively consistent across the rest of Munich, it’s worth highlighting outliers in the university district, Maxvorstadt and the outer south-eastern district Ramersdorf-Perlach. Both districts reported, on average, over a thousand more incidents than other neighbourhoods aside from the top three with the highest crime rates.

Ramersdorf-Perlach proved a particular focus for incidents of petty theft at 1,061. Crimes against personal freedoms were the most common in Maxvorstadt. 

Munich’s safest district was the village-like surrounds of Allach – Untermenzing, in the north-west. Crimes against personal freedoms were the most prevalent, with 215 incidents and incidents of petty theft at 156.

However, it’s worth keeping in mind that Munich is generally a safe place to live and work. Crimes generally happen near the city centre – as with most large European cities. With a little attention paid to your belongings and a degree of common sense, your time in the city will be safe and pleasant. 

What do you think? Are there areas of Munich that you think are more dangerous than others? Let us know