A Syrian migrant was stabbed to death in northern Germany by another Syrian because he was eating ice cream during Ramadan. The murder — which occurred in broad daylight in a busy pedestrian shopping area in Oldenburg and caused great consternation among local citizens — is not just the latest example of Sharia law being enforced on German streets. The crime also highlighted the growing epidemic of knife violence in Germany.
Knives, axes and machetes have become weapons of choice for criminals in Germany, which has some of the strictest gun laws in Europe. Knives are not only being used to carry out jihadist attacks, but increasingly to commit homicides, robberies, home invasions, sexual assaults, honor killings and many other kinds of violent crime.
Reliable statistics on knife violence in Germany do not exist. A search of German police blotters, however, shows that during the past ten years the number of knife-related crimes in Germany has increased by more than 1,200%. Around 4,000 such crimes were reported to police in 2016, up from just 300 in 2007.
It is also impossible to determine how many of these knife crimes involved migrants. Increased censorship by the police and the media, aimed at stemming anti-immigration sentiments, makes the public incapable of knowing the names and national origins of many perpetrators or victims.
The surge in knife-related violence in Germany does, however, coincide with Chancellor Angela Merkel's decision to allow in some two million migrants from Africa, Asia and the Middle East. The number of reported knife crimes in Germany jumped by 600% during the past four years — from about 550 in 2013 to nearly 4,000 in 2016.
Police reports show that both migrants and non-migrants are responsible for the increase in knife crimes in Germany. Merkel's open-door migration policies appear to have set in motion a self-reinforcing cycle of violence in which more and more people are carrying knives in public — including for self-defense. Her policies appear to be leading to more and more stabbings, especially when alcohol is involved.
Not only are knife-related crimes surging, but the perpetrators and victims of such crimes are increasingly younger and increasingly female:
Some knife attacks appear to have political or religious motives:
Knife attacks are also common during brawls involving feuding ethnic groups:
Other knife attacks are seemingly random:
Knife-related incidents are also becoming increasingly common on public transport hubs:
Knives appear to be the weapon of choice in so-called honor killings:
Germany's knife-crime problem is being exacerbated by its lenient judicial system, in which offenders receive relatively light sentences, even for serious crimes. In many instances, individuals who are arrested for knife-related crimes are released after questioning from police. This practice allows criminal suspects to continue committing crimes with virtual impunity.
In Berlin, for example, a migrant who stabbed and seriously injured another migrant after he refused to give him alcohol and drugs was released and financially compensated because no witnesses to the crime could be found.
Also in the German capital, investigators discovered that Anis Amri, the 24-year-old suspect in the December 2016 Berlin terrorist attack in which 12 people died, had been involved in a knife-fight in the city's Neukölln district in July 2016, but police failed to arrest him. Had Amri been deported, as he should have been, the Berlin attack possibly could have been prevented.
According to Arnold Plickert, the deputy national chairman of the GdP police union, much of the knife-violence in Germany can be attributed to certain segments of society that live according to their own rules, not those of the German state. In an interview with knife-blog.com, a German forum for knife enthusiasts, he said:
We are monitoring a specific target group, which mainly consists of young males who are armed in everyday life and basically are dedicated to armed confrontation. We see this particularly in large Arab families, Lebanese clans, for whom knives are standard gear. Knives are also basic equipment for career criminals and members of youth gangs.
Plickert also noted changes in German society, including a growing disrespect for police and rescue workers: "From my point of view, I can say that the inhibition threshold to the use of violence has significantly decreased."
Meanwhile, more than 1,600 knife-related crimes were reported in Germany during just the first five months of 2017 — an average of 300 such crimes each month, or ten a day. Notable knife-related incidents during the month of May include:
In Freiburg, a Turkish man stabbed another Turk sitting in the passenger seat of a car stopped at a traffic light. In Karlsruhe, a Somali asylum seeker stabbed another Somali asylum seeker. Police said the attack was an act of revenge: the stabbing victim had recently stabbed the stabber. In Aachen, a North African man pulled a knife on a security guard at a grocery store after he was caught shoplifting.
In Schwerin, a Syrian man pulled a knife on another Syrian man in a dispute over a 15-year-old girl who is not Syrian. In Gelsenkirchen, a 20-year-old pulled a knife on a 46-year-old man during a traffic incident. In Bad Oldesloe, four teenagers pulled a knife and robbed a 61-year-old man. In Wiesbaden, a "southern-looking" man pulled a knife and tried to rob a man at a sports complex. In Hofheim, a man with an "Eastern European accent" pulled a knife and tried to rob a store.
In Peine, an asylum seeker from Sudan stabbed and seriously wounded an asylum seeker from the Ivory Coast. In Kassel, a Syrian migrant stabbed a Turkish man during a dispute over money. In Bad Reichenhall, a man stabbed another man in the neck during an altercation at a bar. In Bühl, a man stabbed several people at a public swimming pool. In Wiesbaden, a man was stabbed and seriously wounded during an altercation at a city park.
In Augsburg, two men were stabbed by a random attacker at a grill fest. In Hamburg, an unknown assailant stabbed a migrant from Guinea-Bissau. In Rheine, two men speaking German with a French accent pulled a knife on a woman and robbed her.
In Berlin, a man stabbed and seriously wounded his former girlfriend and her new partner during an altercation at a restaurant in Waidmannslust. In Duisburg, a man pulled a knife on a cashier at a supermarket. In Salzgitter, a man stabbed another man in a restaurant. In Freiburg, an Eastern European-looking man (osteuropäisch) stabbed a 15-year-old boy during an altercation at a restaurant. In Danndorf, three men were stabbed during an altercation over drugs.
In Mölln, a man stabbed a co-worker in the back. In Michelstadt, a man stabbed another man during an altercation. In Essen, a man pulled a knife on his wife at the central train station. In Karlsruhe, a man was stabbed by his girlfriend's former boyfriend. In Cologne-Ostheim, a 16-year-old student pulled a knife on his classmates and teacher.
In Neuenburg, two men were stabbed during an altercation at a restaurant. In Kassel, a man was stabbed in the neck during an altercation at a café. In Dortmund, a man was robbed at knifepoint at the central bus station.
In Cottbus, members of Syrian gang stabbed five Germans. In Lich, a man was stabbed during an altercation. In Kassel, a man was randomly stabbed by a man with a "southern appearance" (südländisches Äußeres). In Preetz, a man pulled a knife on shoppers at a supermarket. In Dortmund, two men were stabbed during an altercation in the city center. In Frankfurt-Schwanheim, a man wielding a knife robbed a local post office.
In Pforzheim, a 53-year-old Tajik man stabbed to death his 50-year-old wife at her place of employment, a Christian daycare center. It remains unclear if the woman was a convert to Christianity. In Wardenburg, an Iraqi man stabbed to death his wife, the mother of his five children, while she was asleep in her bed.
In Tübingen, a man was stabbed and seriously injured at the central train station during an altercation. In Hamburg-St. Georg, two men were stabbed and seriously injured near the train station. In Berlin-Wedding, two brothers were stabbed during an altercation with another man at a Kebab restaurant. In Kreuztal, a 53-year-old man was stabbed and seriously wounded during an altercation at his home.
In Lübeck, a 21-year-old man was stabbed and seriously injured during an altercation between two groups near the central bus station. In Diez, a woman stabbed a man in the back. In Ründeroth, a 17-year-old was stabbed and seriously wounded at a local festival. In Neuendettelsau, an Ethiopian asylum seeker stabbed his girlfriend in the stomach at a restaurant after she allegedly "provoked" him. The woman, five months pregnant, survived but the unborn baby died.