The number of criminal offenses committed by those living in Austrian asylum centers increased dramatically by 57.5 percent last year, leading members of the opposition Freedom Party of Austria (FPÖ) to accuse the Austrian government of failing in its basic duty to protect its own citizens.
The figures, released by the Ministry of the Interior only after a freedom of information request by FPÖ MP Hannes Amesbauer, showed that 1,183 crimes by asylum applicants were recorded last year, more than double the figure registered for 2021.
The offenses included cases of document forgery, fraud, theft, rape, sexual abuse of children, physical harm, and murder.
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The FPO claimed the figures were justification for why an increasing number of Austrians no longer want asylum centers constructed near their hometowns, with an average of three crimes a day being committed by residents of these establishments.
The figures showed a large geographical discrepancy in the explosion in crime. While offenses had only risen by 10 percent in the capital of Vienna, other areas saw huge increases including Upper Austria (up 75.9 percent), Salzburg (up 139.5 percent), and Styria (up 219.5 percent).
The crimes were typically committed by young males, with just 127 cases involving a suspect over the age of 40. Four crimes were committed by individuals under the age of 10, five cases involved 10- to 14-year-olds, and 156 crimes were committed by minors between the ages of 14 and 18.
Male perpetrators were responsible for 933 of the 1,183 crimes committed.
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Hannes Amesbauer, the security spokesman for the FPÖ, said in response to the data: “The ‘welcome service’ from the ÖVP, SPÖ, and the Greens is a total failure, and the population cannot take it for even one more day.
“There were clear increases in seven federal states, with Styria being the sad leader in these inglorious statistics with an increase of 220 percent.”
Amesbauer said the increase in the crime stats debunked the “common narrative that large numbers of skilled workers would come here for the tight Austrian labor market,” and claimed that the alternative to the liberal asylum policies of the governing coalition is “Fortress Austria.”
“These crimes are, mind you, only those that took place directly in the locality of asylum and foreign accommodation. This is a major challenge for the police and an imposition for the residents because this crime potential is of course also a security risk for the population,” he added.