Bonn In Bonn and parts of the region there were 35264 criminal offences, the lowest number since 1996. This is partly due to the low numbers of street crime. Investigators are concerned about the increasing number of sexual crimes and fake police officers who target senior citizens.
The trend is continuing: For some years now, crime figures have been falling in Bonn, Königswinter, Bad Honnef and the Rhein-Sieg district on the left bank of the Rhine. Police Chief Ursula Brohl-Sowa and the new head of the Criminal Investigation Department, Achim Spröde, also had positive news to report. In 2019, the Bonn police recorded 35,264 criminal offences - 1889 fewer cases than in 2018.
- Sexual offences: Although there were fewer rapes, sexual assaults and assaults in particularly serious cases, the police recorded more sexual offences overall (2019: 485, 2018: 437). In addition, the police recorded more preliminary investigations of sexual abuse, especially of children (2018: 14, 2019: 53). Among others, this concerns a man from Bonn who contacted seven to 13-year-old girls via the Internet. He sent them pornographic material and encouraged them to perform sexual acts on themselves and send him pictures or videos of them.
- NCMEC: The investigators got on the trail of the Bonner through a tip from the US organisation "National Centre for Missing and Exploited Children". Companies like Google go there when child pornography material is uploaded on the net. If the computer is located in Germany, the Federal Criminal Police Office is called in, which then contacts the local authorities, investigator Gernot Lippert reports. There were 62,000 tipoffs in 2019 nationwide, in Bonn there were cases in the lower three-digit range, according to Lippert.
- Fraud: The statistics are mixed in this one: Although the numbers dropped from 4044 to 3490, these are the deeds taking place in Bonn. Telephone fraudsters such as fake police officers are not included in the figures, as they usually operate from abroad. Thus the number of fraudulent telephone calls has more than doubled (from 1002 to 2510). The good news: in 99.3 percent of cases the fraudsters do not reach their destination. But if they are successful, the payoff is big: in 14 cases they have captured money and jewellery worth just over a million Euro in 2019.
- Serious crimes: Two people died violently in Bonn and the region in 2019. In one case a 35-year-old man from Bonn killed his 63-year-old mother, in the other a 56-year-old man from Meckenheim confessed to having killed his 90-year-old mother, who was in need of care, because of a heart attack. In total there were 28 cases of murder and manslaughter - in 2018 there were ten. Brohl-Sowa admitted that the statistics are not correct in this respect. Because: six acts already occurred in 2017 and 2018, five cases were wrongly registered under "crime against life".
- Burglary: The number of burglaries has fallen again, from 1371 to 1224. In more than 50 percent of cases, the perpetrators fail to reach their destination. However, the clear-up rate has fallen significantly, from 8.9 percent to 27.1 percent in 2018, because some of the crime series could be solved. In 2020, according to Spröde's prognosis, the rate will rise again. One reason: at the end of 2019, a 45-year-old man was arrested in Berlin who entered houses in Bonn and the region 33 times between November 2014 and January 2019. The man is in custody, the crimes have been solved - but too late for the current statistics. By the way, internationally active gangs are hardly ever in Bonn and the region anymore, Spröde noted. "Mostly we're dealing with single perpetrators with regional connections."
- Street crime: The number of robberies on streets, paths or squares increased by 32 to 202 cases, while the number of dangerous and serious bodily injuries fell by 95 to 374 offences. In total, the police recorded 10 228 cases of street crime (2018: 10 332), the lowest figure since 1974.
- Assault and battery: The total number of assaults was 3626, a decrease of 71 cases. With regard to serious and dangerous offences, the figures are down (from 978 to 871), but have risen in the area of simple bodily injury (from 2589 to 2630). According to Brohl-Sowa, one reason for this is the increase in domestic violence. On the other hand, according to Spröde, more offences are reported. Two people were killed in Bonn and the region in 2019. A 35-year-old man from Bonn killed his 63-year-old mother. In addition, a 56-year-old man from Meckenheim had confessed to have killed his mother. The 90-year-old, with whom he lived in a two-room apartment, was in need of care.
- Narcotics: 2252 violations of the narcotics law were discovered by the police in 2019 (2018: 2218). 67 percent were cases involving cannabis products. The police explained the increase with the continued intensified controls in Tannenbusch, Bad Godesberg and the city centre of Bonn.
- Bicycle thefts: The number of bicycle thefts has dropped from 3175 to 2945, while the number of cases solved has risen from 4.3 to 8.2 percent. Because: in 2019, the area was given more attention and the "Bike" investigation group was founded. In May, 16 suspects were identified and the leads led all the way to Poland. During the searches, 176 bikes were seized.
What the police unions say
Dirk Lennertz, head of the Bonn Police Union (GdP), said that the decline in criminal offences was welcomed, but that the statistics had to be viewed in a differentiated way. An increase in the numbers in the area of child pornography, a higher investigation effort and the increased demands required "more personnel per offence", said Lennertz. In addition, the emotional and psychological burden is enormous, investigators are worried that they might overlook an active abuse case due to the almost unmanageable flood of data. A distorted picture is also shown in fraud. For the cases without a crime scene in Germany are not recorded, but both patrol service and the criminal investigation department are still involved. They would investigate on the spot and look after the victims. "This clearly puts the decrease of 1889 cases into perspective," says Lennertz. The colleagues in the commissioner's offices concerned are "literally drowning". Lennertz's demand: the burden not recorded in the statistics must in future be taken into account in staffing requirements.
Hermann-Josef Borjans of the Association of German Criminal Investigators praised the commitment of the criminologists. Beyond that, however, there are critical tones. "Two areas that are of concern are not mentioned", said Borjans, referring on the one hand to fraud on the Internet, especially to the detriment of older people. In this area, he said, the number of crimes has risen massively. The clarification is difficult, he said, due to "a lack of investigative approaches and insufficient legislation". On the other hand, drug-related crime should be mentioned. Especially the trade of crystal meth across the borders of the Benelux countries revealed "a big black hole" in this area.
(Original text: Ayla Jacob; Translation: Mareike Graepel)