433,811 crimes were reported in 2020, a decrease of 11.3 percent compared to 2019 – and by far the lowest value in the past decade. At the same time, the clearance rate rose to 54.2 percent. But cybercrime has “literally exploded”, stated the new director of the Federal Criminal Police Office, Andreas Holzer, at the presentation of the 2020 crime statistics: almost 36,000 reports mean an increase of 26 percent compared to 2019.
Specifically, there are 35,915 complaints that were submitted to the courts in the previous year, according to Holzer, order fraud is at the fore. “Crime has changed”, summed up Interior Minister Karl Nehammer (ÖVP) at the press conference, but also pointed out that these “figures result from a year” that is not comparable with any other. “The corona virus also dominates everyday police operations,” said Nehammer, citing border controls as an example of new tasks, and not only those at the external borders, “but internal border controls in the districts.”
“Chicken thief” replaced by the digital perpetrator
When analyzing the development of crime, Holzer highlighted those of the past ten years, from 2011 to 2019 there were already a minus of 51,000 reports, “in the corona year itself it was again 55,000 fewer, that is a total of over 100,000 fewer reports in a decade “. This decline is particularly evident in property crimes, possibly due to social factors such as the rising standard of living, according to Holzer. Conclusion: The classic “chicken thief” is increasingly being replaced by the digital perpetrator.
Franz Ruf, Director General for Public Security, pointed out the high clearance rate: “We are well positioned in the fight against crime, but we have to develop further,” he stated. The area of digitization is an essential and central topic for the future. There are only a few areas of crime in which IT does not play a role, according to Ruf, referring to the increased number of offenses, such as online child abuse. Overall, organized crime has shown adjustment since the outbreak of the corona pandemic – whether it is illegal loans or counterfeit goods. (apa)