Among the train stations in Germany most affected by crime last year were some that were not among the stations with the most travelers and visitors. As can be seen from a response from the federal government to a query from the AfD parliamentary group, Nuremberg Central Station was one of the three stations in 2022 where the federal police recorded the most sexual offences, violent crimes and property crimes.
During the same period, more gun offenses and crimes related to drugs were registered at the main train station in Dortmund than at any other German long-distance train station. According to the federal government, the Düsseldorf main station is also one of the stations with the highest loads in these two categories of crime. According to the Federal Police, a total of more than 23,000 violent crimes were committed at German train stations and on trains in 2022.
Even smaller cities have problem train stations
The main station in Hanover took second place in the number of violent crimes last year - after Hamburg and ahead of Nuremberg - and took third place in weapons crimes. According to the information, the federal police found most property crimes and sexual offenses at Cologne Central Station.
As the Federal Government further reported in its response, which is available to the German Press Agency, 529 police officers from the Federal Police were injured at stations and on trains last year, 68 of whom were unable to work.
Hamburg Central Station is the busiest
According to Deutsche Bahn (DB), the most frequented train station in Germany is Hamburg Central Station with an average of around 537,000 travelers and visitors per day, followed by the main train stations in Frankfurt am Main and Munich. Berlin Central Station ranks fourth with around 329,000 people per day. Around 318,000 passengers and visitors are counted at Cologne Central Station every day. Hanover is seventh, Düsseldorf is tenth with around 246,000 people per day. Nuremberg Central Station is not one of the ten busiest stations.
"Nuremberg Central Station is a main traffic junction, not only for normal road traffic, but also for local and long-distance public transport," said the police union in Bavaria. "The central bus station is also in the immediate vicinity, from which countless buses and passengers travel in all directions every day." These include travel destinations that are known for drug trafficking, for example.
The federal government's information on crime at train stations comes from the federal police's entry statistics. They therefore deviate from the data in the police crime statistics, which are collected after the police investigations have been completed.
The frequency of controls at the respective train station also has an influence on the number of offenses detected. A comparison of the data with the previous year is not very meaningful, since the corona protection measures in 2021 still had a significant impact on mobility - and thus also on the number of people in public spaces.
"It is unacceptable that travelers are no longer safe at German train stations and on trains," commented AfD MP Martin Hess. He called for more police presence at train stations.
A railway spokeswoman said that in addition to the federal police officers, around 4,300 DB security forces also ensured the safety of passengers, visitors and employees. "In addition to the security staff, video surveillance is another pillar of Deutsche Bahn's security concept," she added. The number of cameras will be increased from currently around 9,000 to around 11,000 by the end of 2024. The spokeswoman emphasized: "Only the federal police have access to stored images." Overall, a "continuously falling inhibition threshold for violence in society" can be observed.
No comprehensive video surveillance
The Federal Government is currently voting on a reform of the Federal Police Act. A controversial point is the question of which rooms the police can use at the train stations. Centrally located premises are important "so that we can be recognized quickly," said Andreas Roßkopf, who takes care of the interests of the federal police officers at the police union (GdP). Officials shouldn't be "banished to the last corner". "A lot more video cameras" and more staff are also necessary, said the chairman of the Federal Police/Customs GdP district of the German Press Agency.
The DB security chief, Hans-Hilmar Rischke, told the dpa that it was not intended to install surveillance cameras nationwide at train stations. Especially since the train stations are safer than other public places, such as parks. The expansion of video surveillance is being carried out "in close coordination with the data protection authority and the federal police". The factors that ensured more security included, above all, "clean stations, a lot of visible staff" and a lot of light. According to him, Deutsche Bahn spends over 180 million euros a year on security measures.