Rotterdam, Amsterdam see mass increase in weapon incidents involving minors

Hague police officer
A police officer in The Hague. Sept. 11, 2015DutchlightDepositPhotosDeposit Photos

Amsterdam and Rotterdam saw a major increase in the number of minors involved in incidents with weapons over the past years. The number of stabbings in Rotterdam involving underage victims and suspects doubled last year. And the number of underage suspects in weapon incidents in Amsterdam increased by 50 percent since 2017, NOS reports based on figures from the local police stations.

Last year there were 36 stabbing incidents among minors in Rotterdam, compared to 19 in 2018. The number of minor suspects may be even higher, because in some cases there are multiple suspects in the same stabbing, a police spokesperson said to NOS. Rotterdam is the first police unit to specifically map out stabbings involving minor suspects.

Amsterdam keeps track of minor suspects in weapon related incidents. That number increased by 50 percent from 209 underage suspects in 2017 to 320 last year. "In addition to stabbing weapons, this also includes firearms and tasers," a spokesperson for the Amsterdam police said to NOS. "But we also see a trend in the actual use of stabbing weapons." 

HALT, the service that handles the sentencing of underage suspects for first or minor offenses, also reported an increase of cases involving illegal weapons possession in almost all provinces. A spokesperson for HALT told the broadcaster that the reason behind this increase is not entirely clear. It could indicate an increase in weapons possession among teenagers, or a different approach by the police, or a combination of both.