Germany has gangs

Organized crime situation report : These gangs dominate in Berlin

Investigators, specialist politicians and journalists have waited a long time for this - on Wednesday, Interior Senator Andreas Geisel (SPD) presented a comprehensive picture of the situation on organized crime (OK) in Berlin for the first time.

First of all: Italian families who are classified as part of the classic Mafia hardly play a role. Most of the 59 Berlin OK proceedings in 2018 concerned Russian-speaking suspects - often from the Baltic States, but above all from the Caucasus.

The main focus of mafia gangs in Berlin are property crimes. According to this, investigators classify 17 cases of theft as OK, mostly car smuggling. This is followed by 16 investigations into drug violations - mainly cocaine trafficking. Berlin remains an OK stronghold. Only in the much larger states of North Rhine-Westphalia and Bavaria were more OC procedures carried out.

Investigators and lawyers weigh up which acts are classified as OK. Most of the time, illegal activities are referred to as OK if the perpetrators work in a division of labor and make permanent profits through criminal activity and want to transfer this booty into the legal economy.

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This case is cited by the authorities as an example: In 2014, more than nine million euros were stolen from a bank. A man from the extended Remmo family was convicted for not finding the money. In 2018, the public prosecutor had 77 properties confiscated because they could have been bought with the money.

The most important findings from the 2018 Organized Crime Situation Report

  • In 2018, there were a total of 59 investigative complexes in the area of ​​organized crime in Berlin
  • There were 462 suspects
  • A total of 98.3 million euros in damage and 16.4 million euros in income from OK were recorded
  • A total of 12.1 million euros in assets were secured, 11.7 million euros alone by the Berlin police
  • Property and nightlife-related crime decreased compared to the previous year
  • Drug smuggling, trafficking and counterfeit crime have increased

When presenting the situation report, Interior Senator Geisel said that organized crime had been the focus of the Berlin police for many years. These are criminal offenses with considerable economic damage. However, like all crime statistics, the statistics only show the brightfield. At the beginning of next year there should also be a balance sheet specifically on clan crime.

Why is a distinction made between organized crime and clan crime?

The police chief and the interior senator emphasized that it was important to distinguish between clan crime and organized crime. Because large Arab families contain between several hundred to several thousand family members. Some of them are "noticeable" in the OK area, as Geisel said. But there are also family members who only parked in the second row or who would attract attention with profiling drives. "This is not organized crime," said Geisel, "but this dominance undermines our rule of law, which is why we are working with the full range of measures."

According to police chief Barbara Slowik, eleven percent of the nationwide OC procedures took place in Berlin. The investigations are extensive and time-consuming. Eleven out of 100 suspects were found to be armed, which was dangerous for the police officers, but also for the citizens.

37.5 percent of the suspects were German citizens, 9.5 percent of them had a non-German birth certificate, according to Slowik. The distinction between nationalities should be assessed critically and not always goal-oriented. Suspects from OK are among other things in the second or third generation in Germany, both the current nationality and the birth certificate are German.

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According to the well-known picture of the situation by the Federal Criminal Police Office, there were 535 OC investigations nationwide in 2018. With 59 cases, the number of OC proceedings in Berlin would have decreased, compared to 68 in 2017. In 2016 there were 61 proceedings. What is striking about the statistics is that the Berlin authorities themselves conducted fewer proceedings against organized criminals in the past year than in the previous year.

Here the number fell from 60 to 49 compared to the previous year. In contrast, the number of investigative complexes handled by the federal authorities - the Federal Criminal Police Office, the Federal Police and Customs - has risen from eight to ten.

However, individual investigations can affect entire networks, so there may have been more OC suspects in 2018 than a few years ago. In addition, the number of proceedings conducted in Berlin by the Federal Criminal Police Office, Federal Police and Customs rose from eight to ten.

[More on the topic: meeting places, raids, crime scenes - how the state acts against Berlin clans]

In the red-red-green Senate coalition the phenomena "clans" and "ok" are debated again and again: the left rejects the term "clan crime", it discriminates against entire extended families. The report therefore also speaks of "crime by members of ethnically isolated subcultures", but actually only means "clan crime", according to Geisel.

Investigators keep saying that German-Arab clans are involved in numerous OC proceedings. And there are certainly thousands of men in Berlin alone whose criminal business is based on the fact that they dominate an ethnically and familially isolated milieu.

In the past few years, most of the OC investigations in Berlin were directed against Russian-speaking networks and Caucasian gangs. Then come the families from Lebanon and multi-ethnic structures that are based on rockers in their habitus.

[More on the topic: "Be merciless" - criminals want to silence a Berlin clan expert]

There is no centrally managed OC structure - that is, the one “mafia patron” - in Berlin. Many professional gangsters only work together for a certain period of time or for certain deeds. The suspects are flexible, names like “Poland Mafia” are hardly suitable. However, according to investigators, there are also homogeneous groups - such as Chechens.

Europol: Germany should conduct more financial investigations

Berlin's authorities had repositioned themselves in 2018. A coordinating office for organized crime (KO-OK) was set up at the LKA, and the public prosecutor's office now has a special department for asset recovery. Experts are therefore all the more astonished that there has been no procedure for Italian Mafia structures in Berlin for several years. According to investigators, there was apparently still a lack of sufficient specialists.

In October, Europol's chief investigator for organized crime, Jari Matti Liukku, urged the German authorities to intensify money laundering and illegal money investigations. The federal government had previously started to implement stricter EU directives.

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