What where is Brigade Eldorado

Germany is an Eldorado for criminals

The words of BKA boss Jörg Ziercke sounded dramatic yesterday: "Organized crime has arrived at the front door." That is not an exaggeration. Last year there were around 150,000 break-ins in Germany. And more and more of them go to the account of Russian or Georgian gangs. The bosses are based abroad, they have obviously divided the republic into 22 regions, 20,000 criminals operate according to plan in "brigades", according to Ziercke.

Together with Federal Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière (CDU), Ziercke presented the 2013 report on organized crime at the federal press conference. Here are the most important questions and answers about organized crime:

Is Germany an Eldorado for criminals?

This assumption is reasonable simply because of the numbers for the break-ins. Last year there were also 580 preliminary investigations, in 2012 there were 568. The number of suspects grew by 15 percent to 9155. In total, the damage caused by organized crime totaled 714 million euros. However, you have to know that the number of unreported cases is immense.

In which areas does organized crime operate? "We're talking about mass crimes," said Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière yesterday. The drug trafficking accounted for the largest share of the registered "OK acts" with 35.2 percent, followed by property crimes (16 percent) and white-collar crime (13.1 percent).

But it is also a fact: there is no area in which the criminals are not active. Car theft, massive telephone fraud of German pensioners through a call center in Turkey, money laundering, human trafficking, prostitution, internet fraud - investigators even found a gang when it came to investments in renewable energies.

Which perpetrators specialize in what? According to the investigators, Polish and Lithuanian groups mainly stole cars in order to ship them to their home countries. Albanian and Lebanese gangs, like Dutch groups, relied on drug trafficking, criminals from the former Soviet Union (for example Russia or Georgia) were noticed as intruders. 5000 Russians alone are currently in German prisons. In addition, gangs from Balkan countries were active in this country, as was the Italian mafia. It has around 500 relatives who specialize in cocaine trafficking and money laundering.

To what extent are Germans involved in organized crime?

In 2013 they were the largest group of alleged members of criminal gangs at 40.5 percent. BKA President Ziercke particularly pointed out the rocker gangs that have several thousand members and supporters in Germany. They have grown significantly in recent years as some gangs have loosened their "admission rituals". Blackmail, murder assignments, red light and drug deals are attributed to them.

How are the security authorities going to deal with the problem? With a "zero tolerance strategy", so explained Ziercke. There are considerable successes through international cooperation, added de Maizière. However, cooperation with countries such as Serbia and Albania still needs to be significantly optimized. In addition, it is necessary to gain better access to the gangs' profits. Therefore, as agreed in the coalition agreement, new measures against money laundering and asset recovery will be taken quickly, promised the interior minister.