Dutch crime rate much higher than official figures indicate: report

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Lady Justice (Picture: Twitter/@danvelton). (Lady Justice (Picture: Twitter/@danvelton))

The crime rate in the Netherlands is much higher than the official figures reflect, according to a confidential report by the police and Public Prosecutor that newspaper Trouw has in its possession. According to the newspaper, the report speaks of the public authorities facing a looming "unbridgeable disadvantage". 

The report was compiled for the new government that will take office after the parliamentary elections on March 15th. The police and Public Prosecutor attribute the discrepancy between the official figures and actual crime rte to a combination of a lack of capacity in the investigative services and a decrease in citizens' willingness to report a crime. The police's capacity is at such a low level that the public lis likely to lose confidence in law enforcement, while criminals gain confidence because they feel they can't be caught.

According to the report, Security and Justice Minister Ard van der Steur, and his predecessor Ivo Opstelten, mainly focus in parliament on the reduction of common crime. But the police, judiciary and for example mayors, increasingly get reports that the "development of crime is less positive than the figures think." The police also don't see a great chunk of the crimes committed, the report says. Law enforcement has insufficient capacity to detect crime itself, mainly relying on the victim to report it. 

The gap between the crime experienced by citizens and recorded crimes is around 3.5 million crimes large, according to the report. In 2015 the police registered 960 thousand crimes, the bulk of them based on a victim filing a report. But the annual victim survey of that year, conducted under 65 thousand people over the age of 15 years, showed that 18 percent of respondents were the victim of a crime in 2015, some more than once. That comes down to 34 crimes per 100 inhabitants. Calculating that to the total population over the age of 15, and you get a massive 4.5 million crimes in 2015, ranging from bicycle theft to threats.

The police and Prosecutor partly attribute the gap to the population starting to accept crimes like theft as a social phenomenon and not reporting it to the police. Over the past decade the willingness to report such crimes decreased by 23 percent.

The authors of the report stress that especially now, in a time of international turmoil and rising tension, it is important to keep the gap between crime and investigative capacity as small as possible.

Of the total crimes reported to the police, investigators puts 57 percent to one side, mostly due to the lack of sufficient clues to lead to a resolution. Internet reports in particular are set aside very often, 70 percent. Most of these don't have any indications of a possible perpetrator or other evidence that could lead to a suspect.

Of the 412 thousand reports that the police do process, 117 thousand are closed without a suspect, the report says according to the newspaper. The Public Prosecutor receives about 225 thousand cases. 37 thousand of them ended in dismissal. Eventually about 170 thousand cases end up being prosecuted. That is 18 percent of the recorded crime.

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