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Multicultural Context, Crime, and Policing in Germany: Challenges After Unification

NCJ Number
Police & Society Issue: 7 Dated: April 2003 Pages: 167-198
Date Published
April 2003
32 pages
This article examines multicultural conflicts in Germany both before and after unification.
Incidents of violence directed at foreigners and reports of xenophobia have plagued Germany and have created a negative international image of intolerance toward difference. A historical account of foreigners in Germany before and after unification is offered to illustrate the complex situation and the role of police in Germany. The attitudes toward foreigners in both the German Democratic Republic and Federal Republic of Germany are reviewed. Tables offer data about how many foreigners inhabited Germany from 1871 through 1999. Although Germany has only about 9 percent foreigners living in the country, crimes against foreigners have been increasing in recent years. The article focuses on the crime committed against and by foreigners, with specific attention paid to how police respond to crime involving foreigners. To help account for crimes against and by foreigners, the article analyzes the different situations in German Democratic Republic and Federal Republic of Germany. The former German Democratic Republic was an emigrant-country, rather than an immigrant-country, and as such, violent multicultural conflict rarely took place. The situation has been vastly different in the Federal Republic of Germany, which has experienced a huge influx of foreigners since World War II, creating conditions ripe for multicultural conflicts. Consequences for police training in a multicultural society are discussed and include the fact that policing multicultural societies is a more complex job and training must constantly evolve to address a population’s greater mobility and greater chances for conflict based on cultural perceptions. Tables, notes, references

Date Published: April 1, 2003