Murders in Netherlands down by a quarter

Forensic investigators at the scene of a fatal shooting on De Clercqstraat, 13 May 2015
Forensic investigators at the scene of a fatal shooting on De Clercqstraat, 13 May 2015Photo: Opsporing Verzocht

The number of people killed in a crime in the Netherlands last year decreased by a quarter compared to 2017. Last year 119 people were victims of murder or manslaughter, 39 fewer than in 2017, Statistics Netherlands reported on Thursday. Of the 119 victims, 19 did not live in the Netherlands.

30 percent of al murders in 2018 were committed in the Netherlands' three largest cities. Amsterdam was again the murder capital of the Netherlands with 14 murder victims, including 11 residents. Rotterdam came in second place with 12 murder victims, including 10 residents. And the Hague in third with 10 victims, all of them residents of the city.

Relatively speaking, 2.1 of every 100 thousand Amsterdam residents have fallen victim to murder or manslaughter in the past five years. In Rotterdam it is 1.7 and in The Hague 1.3. The national average is 0.8 per 100 thousand Netherlands residents. 

The number of men killed in the Netherlands decreased from 112 in 2017 to 76 last year. The number of female victims of murder or manslaughter decreased from 46 to 43. In nearly 90 percent of the murder or manslaughter cases, the police had  perpetrator or suspected perpetrator in sight, more often for female victims than male.

Of the 43 women killed last year, the police had a perpetrator or suspected perpetrator in sight in 42 cases. For three quarters of the killed women, the suspect was her partner or ex. Women are often killed in their own homes. They are often stabbed or strangled to death.

Among the male victims, the police had an idea of a perpetrator in 63 of the 76 cases. In over a third of these cases, the perpetrator or suspected perpetrator was someone the victim knew. One in five of these murders involved a settlement in the criminal underworld. Three quarters of the male victims were shot or stabbed to death.

Between 2014 and 2018 a total of 554 Netherlands residents were murdered. Of the male victims, 43 percent had a non-western migration background and 12 percent had a western migration background. Among female victims it was 26 percent and 16 percent respectively.

The relative chance for men of a non-western migration background to be killed in the Netherlands is on average over 6 times higher than for men with a Dutch background. For men with a western migration background, the risk of being killed is twice as high. Women with a non-western background are 3 times more likely to fall victim to murder or manslaughter than women with a Dutch-only background. 

Last year nearly 600 people were convicted of murder, manslaughter or attempts thereto. More than a quarter of these crimes were committed in 2018, more than half in 2017, and the rest in previous years. The number is higher than the actual murder or manslaughter rate because more than one person can be convicted for the same crime.

Over 90 percent of the perpetrators are men. More than half are between the ages of 25 and 45 years, and more than a quarter are between the ages of 18 and 25. Almost 45 percent of the perpetrators have a non-western migration background. 39 percent have a Dutch-only background.