According to a government report, the number of organised-crime investigations increased from 594 to 696 in 2021, which included drug trade, violence, economic and cybercrimes.

Economic damage caused by organised crime groups reached $2.2B in 2021, according to police.
Economic damage caused by organised crime groups reached $2.2B in 2021, according to police. (AA Archive)

The number of investigative proceedings against criminal gangs has increased enormously, Germany’s interior minister said. 

"We have a record number of investigations," Nancy Faeser told a news conference in Berlin on Wednesday, while presenting an annual report on organised crime in Germany.

According to the Federal Criminal Police Office’s (BKA) report, the number of organised-crime investigations increased from 594 to 696 in 2021, which included drug trade, violence, economic and cybercrimes.

At least 7,503 suspects were arrested, up from 6,529 in 2020, according to the report. Some 7.5 percent of the suspects were armed.

One of the reasons for the increased number of investigations was the information obtained by the police about the criminals, after the hacking of EncroChat's secret communications network.

READ MORE: Politically motivated crimes hit a record high in Germany

Economic damage

Police in the Netherlands and France retrieved more than 20 million secret messages in 2020, and as a result of this, numerous drug dealers were also arrested in Germany.

The economic damage caused by organised crime groups in Germany has significantly increased last year and reached to an estimated $2.2 billion (2.2 billion euros). By comparison, the previous year's figure was around $837 million (837 million euros.)

According to the BKA, the fact that the number of fraud crimes increased sharply last year shows how quickly some criminal gangs react to new opportunities to commit crimes.

The organised-crime cases, which were related to the coronavirus pandemic, tripled in 2021, compared to the previous year. 

This increase was largely due to the unlawful application for the use of coronavirus emergency aid from the federal government.

READ MORE: Europe's drug trade 'remarkably resilient' to pandemic disruption

READ MORE: Germany busts 'world's largest darknet marketplace'

Source: AA