Crime figures in NL continue to fall; decrease slowing down

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Dutch police at a crime scene (Stock Photo: Politie). (Dutch police at a crime scene (Stock Photo: Politie))

Continuing the trend of past years, the number of registered crimes in the Netherlands dropped in 2018. The police registered a total of 766,638 crimes, a decrease of 6.1 percent compared to 2017. However, the police note that the decrease is slowing down. "The decline seems to have come to an end in the last six months", the police said.

The number of crimes registered last year is 20 percent lower than in 2014. The decline in 2018 applies to almost all types of crime. The largest decrease was pickpocketing, which fell by 28 percent last year. There was also a significant decrease in home burglaries, 13 percent less than in 2017. And the number of vandalism incidents dropped by 12 percent.

For the first time in years, the number of robberies increased compared to previous years. Last year there were 4 percent more robberies than in 2017. The last two months of the year saw an "above average increase" in robberies, according to the police. "The revival of hit and run-robberies in particular is of concern", said Jos vn der Stap, the police's national coordinator for robberies. "Certainly in the last months of the year, there were relatively many robberies on supermarkets and meal deliverers. These are most often committed by young perpetrators who work in an amateur manner."

There was also a 7 percent increase in the number of registered sex crimes. "An explanation for this could lie in the increasing attention and openness in society with regard to sexual violence, which makes people report more quickly", the police said. There are also more hotlines available where victims can report sexual violence. The increase is mainly noticeable in reports of rape, grooming and sexting, the police said.

"Although many traditional forms of crime are decreasing, 'hard' police figures do not say everything", the police said. Over the past years the police noticed a clear shift to "invisible" crime, such as undermining and digitized crime. "This is crime that people often don't report, but which is indeed a social problem, like drug crime."

Last year the police responded to 85 percent of emergency calls within 15 minutes, with a clear peak in response times between 3 and 10 minutes. This is a 0.2 percent improvement compared to 2017. 

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