It took days for authorities to admit that dozens of women in Cologne, Germany were assaulted on New Years Eve by immigrant men. For weeks after the story broke, the number of reported assaults kept climbing until it was in the hundreds. But according to a federal police report leaked to German newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung, the nationwide tally of assaults is even higher than previously believed. The Washington Post reports:
Authorities now think that on New Year’s Eve, more than 1,200 women were sexually assaulted in various German cities, including more than 600 in Cologne and about 400 in Hamburg.
More than 2,000 men were allegedly involved, and 120 suspects — about half of them foreign nationals who had only recently arrived in Germany — have been identified.
Only four have been convicted, but more trials are underway.
The reality is that the overwhelming majority of the men involved will never be arrested, much less convicted because the police have no way of identifying them. But according to Deutsche Welle a majority of suspects were recent immigrants and that connection has not gone unnoticed by authorities:
According to the BKA, most of the suspects came from North African countries.
While few Syrians are thought to have taken part in the assaults, the report noted that over half of the men who are allegedly responsible for the attacks have been in Germany less than one year.
“In this respect, there is a connection between the occurrence of the phenomenon and the strong levels of immigration in 2015,” said [Police Agency President Holger] Münch.
The assaults have led to support for a change in German law which makes it easier to convict someone of rape. The law also specifies deportation for immigrants convicted of rape. Despite the fact that the two things are obviously linked, the German left is against making this linkage. The Washington Post reported last week:
Under the new law, in the case of major crimes, asylum seekers would first serve their sentence in Germany and subsequently be deported. For lesser offenses, and if the sentence is suspended, the deportation can be carried out right away.
Halina Wawzyniak, a lawmaker from the Left Party, said that she was generally in favor of stronger sexual-assault laws but that sex assaults and immigration should not be linked. “The debate used to be about ‘no means no’ — now all that is being talked about in social networks are foreigners again,” she said.
Wawzyniak said she feared that the new law could lead to “disproportionate” sanctions for relatively minor offenses by asylum seekers and that they could face a “double punishment” by being deported.
Germany is not the only nation where this sort of assault has happened. Similar incidents have taken place in Sweden and the police there were also negligent in reporting them to the public. This BBC News report is from January of this year: