Annual balance of car fires in Berlin: Nowhere were more cars burned than in Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg – Berlin
Burning cars are as much a part of Berlin as accidents or theft, they are typical reports from a police night. The past year was no exception. 426 vehicles were set on fire in 2021, one more than in the previous year. According to the State Criminal Police Office, 281 other cars burned due to the heat of the flames in the area, which the police call “collateral damage”.
As the top district in this negative statistic, Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg left Neukölln behind in 2021: 86 vehicles were set on fire there and a further 42 were damaged. The authority cites a fire protection inspection of the “Rigaer 94” in June and the clearing of the “Köpi-Wagenplatz” in October as possible reasons for the increase compared to the previous year. After both events, there were “resonant acts” with a number of vehicles that were set on fire. Single serial offenders can raise the stats significantly, but they rarely get caught.
The Berlin police are making little progress with the investigation, also because the fires destroy many traces and the crimes mainly take place at night. Most of the time, when the flames shoot up on a car (T+), the igniters are gone. In the whole year, only one suspect could be identified, who investigators assess as politically motivated. Nobody was caught last year. Fires only count in this category if letters of confession or “corresponding findings” are identified.
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37 other suspects are said to have set fire to other reasons – motives such as vandalism, insurance fraud and craving for recognition are mentioned. In previous years, there was also talk of pyromaniacs, destructive people and hostile suspects.
Because the investigations into car fires often remain unsuccessful, the few perpetrators caught are used to conclude the large, unknown remainder. In the past six years, around 200 suspects have been identified, according to inquiries from the CDU. Citywide saw the safest cars last year on the roadside of Tempelhof-Schoeneberg. 31 vehicles burned there.