Crime fell by 1% overall but cybercrime jumped by 127%
The number of registered crimes in the Netherlands decreased last year by about ten thousand to a total of 795 thousand, police stated in their annual report. At the same time, significantly more emergency calls were made by people who asked for police assistance during the first year of the coronavirus pandemic.
Home invasions, robberies and street muggings in the Netherlands occurred less often last year, which is likely a result of government-imposed lockdown restrictions. Simultaneously, evidence of significantly more nuisance complaints and online crimes has emerged from the police's final overview.
“Looking back at 2020, we see that the crime picture is changing structurally. Classic, physical crimes continue to decline and digital crime continues to increase. Due to coronavirus, we are more often at home and we are online more often. Criminals cunningly respond to this,“ said police chief Henk van Essen.
The number of cybercrime offenses in particular has increased dramatically. Police said there was an astonishing 127% increase in the number of online crime reports compared to a year earlier. Numerous Dutch residents were victims of various criminal activities such as internet fraud, identity theft or cyberbullying. “Digital is increasingly becoming the new normal. This requires police with digital skills," said Van Esse.
In 2020, emergency calls were made over 3.1 million times, which is an increase of over 150,000 compared to a year before. Police deployment was required after more than half of them. Additionally, 81% of the calls were answered within 20 seconds, compared to 66% in 2019.
More than 25 million chat messages were also intercepted by Dutch police last year, resulting in numerous cocaine routes being cut off and a number of drug labs dismantled. More than 100 suspects of serious crimes were arrested. The total expenditure of the police in 2020 amounted to just under 6.4 billion euros, the report also concluded.
Absenteeism within Dutch police forces decreased to 5.5%, which is the lowest percentage since its formation.