Italian figures show a substantial rise in the number of crimes committed by foreigners, who now account for 31.9 percent of criminal suspects despite only making up eight percent of the general population.
The new figures, which were released by the Italian Interior Ministry this week, reveal that in the first six months of 2018 foreigners made up 31.9 percent of criminal suspects, up from 27.4 percent for the same period last year, Il Giornale reports.
Foreign suspects in specific crimes are also on the rise: For sexual offences, the number of foreign suspects has increased by 5.7 percent, for thefts by 5.1 percent, and for drug crimes 5.2 percent.
In 2016, the Italian Confcommercio group had released a report predicting that an increase in immigration would lead to an increase in crime. The study suggested that legal immigrants were twice as likely as native-born Italians to commit crimes and that up to half of illegal migrants were engaged in some form of criminal activity.
One of the main concerns in Italy has been the influx of Nigerian criminal gangs, who have established themselves in towns like Castel Volturno where drug dealing and prostitution are rife
Following the brutal murder of Italian teen Pamela Mastropietro by a Nigerian drug dealer, prominent Italian criminologist Alessandro Meluzzi warned that the gangs were taking over Italy.
“The Nigerian Mafia, the most ruthless mafia in the world, killed Pamela [Mastropietro]. Its sects are colonising Italy and stealing business from the traditional mafia families,” he said.
The Italian statistics echo those of Germany, where a report released last year showed 205,000 crimes involving migrant suspects in 2015, rising to 295,000 in 2016.
In some areas of Germany, like the capital of Berlin, foreigners make up as much as half of all criminal suspects.