Registered crime in Netherlands at lowest point since 1980

Crime scene
Crime scenePhoto: Politie

The number of registered crimes in the Netherlands decreased again last year and is now back at the level of 1980, Statistics Netherlands reported on Monday. Crime in the Netherlands increased steadily at the start of this century, but decreased considerably over the past few years. Last year 49 crimes were registered per 1,000 inhabitants, compared to 93 per 1,000 inhabitants in 2001 and 2002, NOS reports.

Statistics Netherlands charted the developments in crime in the country from 1948 to 2017 for this report. This is the first time that such developments are tracked over such a long period. 

The majority of crimes registered in the Netherlands are property crimes like theft and burglary. That number has been relatively stable since the 1950's. After years of decline, the number of cases involving murder or manslaughter increased slightly in 2017. The increase was especially visible in Amsterdam, Rotterdam and The Hague. In these three cities there were four times as many murder or manslaughter victims than in the rest of the country. 

Statistics Netherlands has no simple explanation for the decrease in registered crimes, but the willingness to report a crime definitely plays a big role. On one hand, reporting a crime is now easier as the police are more accessible via the phone or internet. On the other hand, increased wealth means that people are less likely to report a burglary or vandalism if the financial damage is small. Some people also don't report crimes because they feel that the police do not do anything with the reports. 

According to the stats office, the current downward trend in the Netherlands is comparable to other countries in Northwest Europe. After World War II other countries in the region also saw an increase in crime deep into the 1990's, followed by a decrease after the turn of the century.