Violent Hate Crimes in North Rhine-Westphalia 2012-2016 (Vorurteilsmotivierte Gewaltkriminalität in Nordrhein-Westfalen 2012-2016)

Period: Juli 2018 –September 2020
Funding: Own funds (University of Bochum, FHöV NRW)

Prof. Dr. Cornelia Weins (project management), Sebastian Gerhartz M.A., Dipl. Soz.wiss Sebastian Jeworutzki (Ruhr University Bochum)
Matthias Mletzko M.A. (Mainz)
Prof. Dr. Daniela Pollich (University of Applied Sciences for Public Administration and Management of North Rhine-Westphalia, FHöV NRW)

Parallel to an in-migration of more than one million refugees in 2015/2016 and a rise in right-wing mobilisation against refugees and Muslims, Germany has witnessed a sharp increase in “xenophobic” violence (subsuming racially, ethnically, and religiously motivated violence, see Federal Ministry of the Interior, Building, and Community). In this context the project investigates violent hate crimes in the most populous Federal State of Germany, North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW), between 2012 and 2016 with a focus on changes in bias motivations (rising anti-Muslim violence?), offense types, offender characteristics, co-offending, and victims.
The project employs (1) police reports on all hate crimes in NRW in the covered time period (target population) from an official reporting system on politically motivated crimes (see Bleich/Hart 2008) as well as a (2) large purposive sample of criminal investigation files. Each police report includes a narrative section with a description of the incident. We mainly take advantage of the description of incidents to collect additional data and more detailed information (e.g. on bias motivations, offence types) than provided by official statistics (e.g. on religiously motivated hate crimes, targeted groups).
Access to police data for this project has been granted by the Ministry of the Interior of North Rhine-Westphalia. Data collection is supported by the Criminal Police Office of North Rhine Westphalia.
Reference: Bleich, Erik; Hart, Ryan K. (2008): Quantifying Hate. The Evolution of German Approaches to Measuring ‘Hate Crime’. In: German Politics 17 (1), S. 63–80. DOI: 10.1080/09644000701855143.


Vorurteilskriminalität und Polizeiarbeit. 21. Februar 2019, Fachhochschule für Öffentliche Verwaltung (FHöV), Standort Köln


Project-related presentations:

Cornelia Weins / Daniela Pollich: Hate Crimes in Germany 2012-2016. Presented at the EUROCRIM 2018 on Crimes Against Humans and Crimes Against Humanity, 29.08.-01.09.2018 in Sarajevo

Matthias Mletzko / Cornelia Weins: Right-wing Violence 2012-2016: -Focus on anti-Muslim violence and its interactive effects. EENeT – Subgroup Meeting 14th – 16th of March 2016 in Budapest


Cornelia Weins and Matthias Mletzko: Part I – Xenophobic crimes. In: Matthias Mletzko, Nina Käsehage, and Cornelia Weins: State of research report – Academic literature and governmental data collection on extremist crime in Germany. Wiesbaden: Bundeskriminalamt 2019