Justice Min: Asylum influx impact on crime rate to be studied

The Ministry of Security and Justice is launching a large-scale national investigation into what impact asylum seekers have on crime in their surroundings. The intention is to provide hard numbers, so that the asylum debate can be held based on facts, instead of emotions alone, Dutch newspaper AD reports.

The investigation will be done by the Ministry's own research institute WODC. Asylum seekers will be tracked from the moment they are registered with a municipality. The WODC will link their BSN, a unique number assigned to all residents of the Netherlands, to the police database and figures from Statistics Netherlands. That link should show if asylum seekers show above average criminal behavior, and if so which asylum seekers it involves.

It is not yet clear whether the investigation will be conducted on an individual level, or for example by neighborhood or municipality. But the investigation will start within a few weeks, project leader Roel Jennissen said to the newspaper. The intention is to publish the conclusions shortly after the summer.

In December the police reported that while the arrival of so many asylum seekers in the country puts pressure on police capacity, the idea that they cause a substantial increase in crime is "absolutely incorrect". Research done by NU.nl in November also showed that the placement of an asylum center does not result in the burglaries in the area increasing more than the national trend.