Amsterdam gun confiscations, robberies on the rise

Black screens put up to close off the crime scene of the shooting on De Clercqstraat, Amsterdam (Picture: Twitter/@RobertFlos)Black screens put up to close off the crime scene of the shooting on De Clercqstraat, Amsterdam (Picture: Twitter/@RobertFlos)

The Amsterdam confiscated 396 firearms in 2015, 82 more than in 2014 and 86 more than in 2013. The police also closed down 29 "key locations", where gangs and criminals met. The number of robberies increased with 6 percent, according to the city's annual crime figures which Mayor Eberhard van der Laan announced in a letter to the city council and at a press conference on Friday.

Last year the Amsterdam mayor, police and Public Prosecutor once again focused on fighting High Impact crimes, such as robberies, burglaries, muggings and violent crimes. Particular focus was given to arms trade and assassinations in the city.

When it comes to weapons confiscation, 2015 showed increase in almost all categories of weapons confiscated. Last year 18 automatic weapons were found and confiscated, 7 more than in 2014. More handguns were confiscated and there was a remarkable increase in the number of modified gas pistols, 69 last year compared to 17 in 2014.

According to police chief Pieter-Jaap Aalbersberg, arms trade in the city got a lot of focus last year. "In 27 cases we were able to avoid an assassination." he said at the press conference, according to Het Parool. "When weapons are found an intensive investigation follows, good old fashioned detective work. Six times we were able to establish a link with other weapon offenses."

The number of murders in the city over 2015 was at a record low 16, six of which were gang-related assassinations. In 2014 there were 25 murders, 10 of which assassinations.

Chief Prosecutor Theo Hofstee thinks that the gang war in Amsterdam is slowly coming to an end. "But in a city like Amsterdam criminal groups will continue fighting violent conflicts. But none of the assassinations of the past year had anything to do with the conflict which started in 2012", he said at the press conference.

The number of robberies, on the other hand, is on the rise. Last year there were 196 robberies, a six percent increase to the 185 robberies in 2014. But when looked at a five year period, the number of robberies fell by half. In 2010 there were 459 robberies.

At the press conference Mayor Van der Laan stated that he is impressed with the figures, but that Amsterdam should not become complacent. "We should count our blessings, but we must never be satisfied. I have great admiration for the approach of the judiciary and police, but as mayor I may never be satisfied."