Quoting the article on Express.de:

There were more than 500 sexual assaults in Cologne's Silvesternacht. [...] In police criminal statistics for Cologne, however, the sex mob did not lead to a rapid increase in the number of cases in January. Just 17 cases went into the official police record - in April and June.

(per Google translate)

Is it true that the official crime statistics did not include the crimes from New Year's Eve sexual assaults? Has this ever been explained/corrected? And does this imply that refugee and immigrant crimes are regularly falsified in official statistics?

  • I do realize that I ultimately asked three questions here and I am not really sure how to tackle it - I am primarily interested in the main issue from the website if/how that's true and how/if it was resolved/explained since I've seen this being used as an argument to discredit everything that is official on some discussions lately.
    – Maurycy
    Feb 7, 2017 at 23:33
  • 1
    Are the statistics here the number of rapes reported, or the number of people charged with those rapes? For instance, it's possible (I have no actual knowledge) that the police have not identified most of the rapists, at least with sufficient evidence to charge them.
    – jamesqf
    Feb 8, 2017 at 1:07
  • @jamesqf I don't know, that's the only article I've been pointed out to and searching for English articles led to nor results.
    – Maurycy
    Feb 8, 2017 at 10:15

1 Answer 1


I do not want to focus so much on the linked article, suffice to say that EXPRESS is using very lurid language in the article. Instead I focus on your three specific claims.

The primary source is the official police statistics. The statistic itself gives no context or explanation. It has tables listing the cases that became known (bekanntgewordene Fälle), of those, attempts , clearance ratio per month.

Tables are for the following offenses [translations]:

Vergewaltigung und sexuelle Nötigung     [rape and sexual assault]
davon: [of which]
Vergewaltigung/sexuelle Nötigung überfallartig (Einzeltäter) [... suprise attack by individuals]
Vergewaltigung/sexuelle Nötigung überfallartig (durch Gruppen) [... suprise attack by groups]
Vergewaltigung/sexuelle Nötigung durch Gruppen [... by groups]

Sonstige Vergewaltigung [other rape]
Vergewaltigung/sexuelle Nötigung mit Todesfolge [... fatal]
Sonstige sexuelle Nötigung [other sexual assault]
Beleidigung auf sexueller Grundlage [insult on sexual basis]

Since these are 8 different tables, I don't want to pick one to quote here.

There is a related small inquiry of Ina Scharrenbach (CDU), a opposition politician in the parliament of North Rhine-Westphalia. Cologne is located in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia. The inquiry and it's response by the government of North Rhine-Westphalia provide more context for the statistics.

The inquiry makes the following remark about the statistics (page one, last paragraph):

It is also surprising that, without further explanation, the offense type "rape/sexual assault as surprise attack (by groups)" in December 2015 as in January 2016 shows no entry for the police department Cologne, whereas the number of cases known in June 2017 is indicated as "17".

Note: I presume that June 2017 should be June 2016. This is where the number 17 comes from. It is the highest monthly number for this particular offense. It is true, that the statistics list 17 cases of this particular offense for June. However there are also 9 cases for for April. So the quote:

Just 17 cases went into the official police record - in April and June.

Is clearly false.

But furthermore, the inquiry requests clarification on why the April and June statistics are so high and how this is related to the Silvesternacht. The official answer is by the minister of interior, who is basically the head of the police. (Response to 4. on page 3):

For "security in focus", data on crime development are used. This is based on the results of the police investigations at the time of the final submission to the public prosecutor's office. At the time of the complaint, the facts of the allegation of the offense, suspects and victims are still unclear in many cases. For this reason, the tabular assignment is basically made to the month in which the investigation is handed over "to the judiciary". This is not always the same as the month in which the offense was committed. Because of the large number of criminal complaints and references to criminal offenses in the Silvesternacht in Cologne as well as the related complex investigation requirements, the increases in the number of sexual offenses reported for the months of April and June 2016 for the district of the police center in Cologne are exclusively due to the acts of the Silvesternacht.

The inquiry further requests clarification in which category, the 1150 criminal complaints are shown. The response (question 2 on page 2)

With regard to the statistical collection criteria, a detailed illustration of the criminal charges in connection with the deeds of the Cologne Silvesternacht is however not possible.

Now it is not clear whether all cases from the Silvesternacht went exclusively into April and June or also into other months. And it is not clear in what categories the cases went.

If we assume for a moment, that all cases went exclusively into April and June and those month had mean number of cases otherwise, there would be 284 cases from the Silvesternacht in the statistic. (back-of-the-envelope calculation) Again, this is only to get a rough feeling on the order of magnitude on how the Silvesternacht influenced the police statistics.

To summarize:

Is it true that the official crime statistics did not include the crimes from New Year's Eve sexual assaults?

No. It is included in the April/June statistics and they do show a significant increase. It was officially confirmed that this increase is due to the Silvesternacht.

Has this ever been explained/corrected?

There is an official explanation. However, there is no clear statement about the specific quantity and classification of those cases.

And does this imply that refugee and immigrant crimes are regularly falsified in official statistics?

No, it does not imply such thing. One might infer the opposite, but in any case it would be a stretch to derive a regular falsification or the lack thereof based on this singular issue.

  • I think the key here might be the "clearance ratio": that is, cases where the perpetrator is identified and charges are brought. Now when you have sizeable gangs of immigrants (who, in the classic, if prejudiced, phrase "all look alike"), it would seem to be pretty difficult to identify individual perpetrators.
    – jamesqf
    Feb 8, 2017 at 20:12
  • @jamesqf except they do not look alike (unlikely you'd have a multigenerational group of twins giving birth to enough children to make this possible). The phrase you mentioned isn't due to prejudice, it's due to racism and laziness. It only works if the greater culture participates. If the police aren't going to arrest randoms for a crime based on a vague description, it's to nobody's benefit, racist or not, who is a victim of an actual crime, to use the vague one to implicate any "immigrant" when they could give a detailed description to implicate their actual attacker.
    – iheanyi
    Feb 9, 2017 at 16:45
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    @ iheanyi: Sorry, but all people of any particular racial/ethnic group (even my own) DO look pretty much alike, once you eliminate obvious things like height, weight, and hair color. For example, take blonde Hollywood actresses - as far as I, a non-movie fan, can tell, they're completely interchangeable. Maybe with specialized training you could learn to pick out (and describe, which is the hard part) individual differences, but most people don't have that training, and fewer still could apply it under stress. Look at the number of false convictions based on eyewitness ID.
    – jamesqf
    Feb 10, 2017 at 20:09

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