More underage suspects arrested for first time since 2009

The police in the Netherlands registered 18 thousand underage suspects last year, an increase of 6.5 percent compared to the year before. 2019 was the first year since 2009 in which more underage suspects were caught than the year before. In the past decade, the number of minor offenders more than halved, Statistics Netherlands reported on Friday.

In 2019, the police registered a total of 165 thousand people as suspects of a total of 262 thousand crimes. Over a tenth of these were minors, suspected of committing 31 thousand crimes. About 70 percent of minor suspects last year were first offenders. The minors who first came into contact with the police last year were on average older than underage first offenders in the previous 10 years. 

78 percent of the minor suspects were boys. A quarter of the boys were under 15 years old. While minor girls are less likely to be suspected of crimes than boys, girls are more likely to be suspected of a crime at a younger age. Almost 30 percent of girl suspects were under 15 last year. The number of girls registered as suspects decreased by 61 percent in the last decade, the number of boys by 58 percent. 

Compared to other age groups, minors are relatively often suspected of property crimes like theft, shoplifting, and mugging, and public violence. Nearly 60 percent of minor suspects were suspected of a property crime and 10 percent of public violence, compared to 35 and 2 percent respectively among adult suspects. At 6 percent of al underage suspects, minors are also more likely to be suspects of a weapon offense than adults at 4 percent. 

The majority of minor suspects last year had a Dutch background at 53 percent. Though minors with a migration background were 2.4 times more likely to be suspected of a crime as their Dutch counterparts, relatively speaking. 20 percent of minor suspects last year lived in one of the four large cities. Amsterdam had the most minor suspects, followed by Utrecht, Rotterdam and The Hague.