Migration and Crime

A study on migration rates on behalf of the Federal Government


Project period

2003 – 2004

Project staff

Prof. Dr. Christian Pfeiffer

Dr. Matthias Kleimann

Dr. Tilmann Schott

Sven Petersen


Immigration Council of the Federal Government

Own funds

Project deskription

In autumn 2003, the Criminological Research Institute of Lower Saxony was commissioned by the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees to prepare an analysis for use with the first report of the Advisory Committee on Migration and Integration in October 2004. The report was to look at problems of crime among migrants and its consequences for integration policy. The original plan was to prepare a secondary analysis on the current state of research comprising 40 to 60 pages. However, when drafting the analysis report, it became clear that in order to provide satisfactory answers to certain questions, it was necessary to conduct supplementary data analysis. We were able to integrate data sets taken from police crime statistics which were made available by the Lower Saxony State Criminal Police Office. We also used calculations based on data taken from case file analysis and a KFN survey of school children. Based on the findings of this data analysis, the final section of the report sets out conclusions regarding how both the state and society can help to improve integration for migrants, and outlines the opportunities and challenges involved in EU expansion to the east.

Notable questions that arose while conducting the research work were as follows: Why did the overall number of foreign defendants decline by around one fifth in Germany during the period 1993 to 2003? What are the reasons for the parallel increase of about 70 percent in the number of foreign inmates? Why, in relation to their share of the overall population, do a disproportionately large number of young male foreigners and ‘Aussiedler’ (immigrants of German extraction from former Eastern bloc countries) commit violent crime? How can the state and society help to improve integration opportunities for migrants?

Project related publications
  • Pfeiffer, C, Kleimann, M., Schott, T. & Petersen, S.(2004). Probleme der Kriminalität bei Migranten und integrationspolitische Konsequenzen. Expertise für den Sachverständigenrat für Zuwanderung und Integration (Zuwanderungsrat) der Bundesregierung.
  • Pfeiffer, C, Kleimann, M., Schott, T. & Petersen, S.(2005). Migration und Kriminalität. Ein Gutachten für den Zuwanderungsrat der Bundesregierung. (Interdiszipliäre Beiträge zur kriminologischen Forschung, Band 27). Baden- Baden: Nomos.