This publication provides a quantitative overview of the development and status of environmental crime in Germany between 2010 and 2020, with a supplementary presentation for the year 2021, based on data from the police crime statistics ("Polizeiliche Kriminalstatistik"), as well as statistics from the Federal Statistical Office's criminal prosecution ("Strafverfolgungsstatistik"). The report provides both an overview of general trends and an in-depth account of individual environmental offences. Additionally, the publication contains data on administrative offences relating to the trafficking of protected species. The report was prepared by a team from Ecologic Institute on behalf of the German Federal Environment Agency.
The main findings are as follows:
The number of known cases for all environmental offences dropped by 3 % between 2010 and 2020, from 21,546 in 2010 to 20,804 in 2020. In 2021 there were 20,625 cases. This continues the trend noted in the previous edition of the "Environmental Offences" publication, with an increase again in recent years. The number of cases had already decreased between 2010 and 2019, but by 8 % in that period. The number of known cases of all criminal offences recorded in the PKS also decreased by 10 % between 2010 and 2020.
This decrease in the number of cases is in line with a general decrease in crime in Western Europe over the last 20 years. The reasons could be both an improved awareness of the rules and an improved actual compliance with the rules, as well as reduced capacities for investigations, prosecution, and law enforcement in the responsible authorities. In addition, it is assumed that the number of unreported cases is high.
In 2020, 38 % of all known cases of environmental offences were offences under the Animal Protection Act. Offences of unlawful handling of waste (§ 326 except Section 2 of the Criminal Code) had a share of 36 %, water pollution a share of 12 %. These three types of offences together thus comprised a share of 86 % of all known cases of environmental offences in 2020. This roughly corresponds to the situation in 2016.
The clearance rate for environmental offences only changed insignificantly between 2010 and 2020. It was between 58 % and 62 % every year between 2010 and 2020, in 2021 it amounted to 57 %. It was slightly higher than the clearance rate for overall crime in Germany.
The publication continues the series "Environmental Offences" published by the UBA, the last edition of which was published in 2021 as "Environmental Offences 2019".