Situation picture of the BKA: Organized crime reacts quickly to new opportunities

Situation picture of the BKA
Organized crime responds quickly to new opportunities

The Italian mafia, biker groups, criminal clans: so-called organized crime has many faces and many business models. The BKA situation report shows that the criminals are quickly opening up new fields and are now making billions from them.

The economic damage caused by organized crime has more than doubled in Germany. It rose from 837 million euros in 2020 to 2.2 billion euros last year, as can be seen from the so-called federal situation report on organized crime published in Berlin by the Federal Criminal Police Office, which BKA President Holger Münch presented in Berlin together with Federal Minister of the Interior Nancy Faeser. It was about stolen assets worth around 1.4 billion euros. In the previous year, its value was around one billion euros.

According to the Federal Criminal Police Office, the rising numbers illustrate the financial potential of organized crime groups and “the associated threat to a wide variety of areas of society”, for example through reinvestment of money in legal and illegal business models or corruption.

The number of investigations also increased in the past year – by around 17 percent to 696. The main reason for the increase is information that comes from the 2020 decrypted secret communication from criminals via the provider Encrochat. In 2020, the police in the Netherlands and France managed to siphon off more than 20 million secret Encrochat messages. As a result, many drug dealers were also convicted in Germany. Most of the procedures were in North Rhine-Westphalia, followed by Lower Saxony and Bavaria.

Armed more often

The federal situation report on organized crime recorded a further significant increase in suspects. Their total number increased by almost 15 percent to around 7,500. 559 of them were armed. Their number rose by almost 35 percent.

According to the BKA, the fact that the number of fraud offenses has risen sharply in the past year shows how quickly some criminal gangs react to new opportunities to commit crimes. The number of procedures in which references to the corona pandemic were identified tripled in 2021 compared to the previous year. “This increase is largely due to the unlawful application for and use of emergency corona aid from the federal government,” says the situation report.

According to the information, the organized gangs were mainly active in drug trafficking and smuggling – almost half of all investigations fall into this area. This is followed by economic crimes and so-called property crime, including burglaries and thefts. Overall, organized crime continues to pose “a high potential for damage and threats” to society and to economic and state institutions, the report summarizes.

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