The steady increase in hate-motivated crimes against lesbians, gays, bisexuals and trans people (LGBT) registered by the police in Berlin continues. In 2020, 377 cases were recorded, in 2021 even 456 - by far the highest value ever recorded in the capital. Almost half of the offenses reported are insults. Acts of violence are also common. The proportion of physical injuries and dangerous physical injuries last year was almost 23 percent. More crimes recorded can also be due to an increased willingness to report them.
This is the result of a scientific evaluation of the police crime statistics, which the Camino research institute compiled on behalf of the Berlin Senate Department for Justice, Diversity and Anti-Discrimination. Accordingly, there is a geographic focus of reported crimes in nightlife areas that are popular with LGBT people. Same-sex life and love becomes particularly visible in such inner-city scene locations. "Especially the district of Neukölln, but also Friedrichshain and Kreuzberg stand out with a high proportion of physical injuries and dangerous physical injuries," says the report. Berlin is the only federal state that evaluates the police data in this area of crime in such detail.
Corresponding criminal offenses are particularly recorded at weekends, more than half of the incidents took place in the evening and at night. The evaluation refers to data from the Berlin State Criminal Police Office since 2010. Between 2010 and 2021, suspects were identified in a total of around 44 percent of the cases. Last year, suspects were identified in just 37 percent of violent crimes and just 19 percent of crimes committed online. State agencies and counseling institutions also assume that the number of unreported acts of violence is high.
At an average of 90 percent over the years 2010 to 2021, the suspects of homophobic and transphobic crimes are predominantly male. They are found in all age groups, many are young. Last year almost half of the suspects were under 30 years old. Particularly striking: Almost 28 percent were aged between ten and under 20 years.
In more than 22 percent of the cases, the registered homophobic and transphobic offenses were committed by at least two participants. Men are much more likely to be victims of violent crime, but the proportion of injured lesbian and bisexual women has increased recently. Three quarters of the suspects were previously known to the police, mostly in general crime without any political connection.
The nationality of the identified suspects is also recorded in the police statistics. Between 2010 and 2021, 69.3 percent had German citizenship. This applies to 79.1 percent of Berlin residents, so non-German nationals are overrepresented. Germans are followed by Turkish (5.5 percent), Syrian (2.8 percent) and Polish suspects (2.6 percent). The nationality of 3.5 percent of the suspects was given as “unknown”.
Since mid-2018, the Berlin public prosecutor’s office has also explicitly reported hate crimes against LGBT people. Here, too, there is a continuous increase in the number of cases, last year the public prosecutor received 646 cases. Some of these can also refer to the previous year. In addition, the public prosecutor's office can also initiate preliminary investigations without a preliminary police investigation. In the proceedings with identified suspects, 15 percent applied for a penalty order and 13 percent brought charges; also 13 percent were associated with other procedures. Around 40 percent of the proceedings involving suspects were discontinued by the public prosecutor's office.
Asked by WELT about this high number, Justice Senator Lena Kreck (left) said on Monday that people may have experienced behavior as degrading, discriminatory or violent, but the right to a different assessment of what is punishable. "That's also the rule of law, especially in criminal law: It has to be meticulously and precisely checked whether a criminal offense has been committed or not."
The Camino research institute also carried out a standardized survey of 141 transgender Berliners. "Those affected mostly describe violence and discrimination as a ubiquitous, integral part of being trans," says the study. "Public space is perceived by many interviewees as a place of permanent threat." Many interviewees also report that their families reject their trans identity and that there is a lack of awareness in the healthcare system.
In January of this year, the Berlin anti-violence project Maneo warned that gay and bisexual men are also at risk of forced marriages, so-called honor killings and other forms of violence in the name of honor. "Gay men regularly turn to our advice center because their families put them under pressure or openly threaten them with brutal violence," said Maneo manager Bastian Finke at the time. "People are deprived of their right to self-determination, to fall in love freely and to enter into a real love relationship with pressure and violence."
Maneo has been advising gay and bisexual men affected by violence since 1990. In 2018, Finke told the "taz" that there were also evil looks in the bourgeois district of Prenzlauer Berg, but that most violent offenders on the street were "testosterone-charged young men from certain problem areas" who "are not taking care of enough specialist institutions with targeted offers “.
WELT wanted to know from Justice Senator Kreck how she assessed the problem of "honour" against gays. Referring to a project that provides temporary housing for LGBT people at risk of forced marriage or domestic violence, she said: "We recognized that the shelters we currently have are inadequate. Therefore, the funds in the double budget for the years 2022 and 2023 have been increased, so that there is now another corresponding apartment. "Because of the general fight against trans and homophobia, we have to learn to take a closer look at what people are experiencing at home," Kreck continued. The sponsors AWO and the Lesbian and Gay Association of Germany say: "The few places are by no means sufficient to give everyone the necessary security they are entitled to."
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