About 3,300 weapons handed in during national amnesty campaign
Police across the country were given 3,300 weapons last week during the national weapons hand-in campaign. The program yielded "more than 2,000 knives, 200 other stabbing weapons, nearly 500 firearms, and 600 other weapons," the Ministry of Justice announced. Many kilograms of ammunition were also turned in to authorities.
People were allowed to hand in their weapons anonymously and without punishment at various police stations and municipal offices during the amnesty period. This year's hand-in campaign yielded significantly more weapons than in 2019. That year in Rotterdam alone, 262 weapons including sixty firearms were handed in to police, versus 442 this year.
The authorities acknowledge that this is only a fraction of the total number of weapons in circulation. "We are happy with any weapon that is off the street, but at the same time, we are not naive. We realize that the people who do not turn in their weapons pose the greatest risk. Therefore, the benefit of the action is mainly in the conversations that this week has generated. We have had the opportunity to explain the dangers of gun ownership in many places and together strengthen the norm about gun ownership," said Mohammed Mouch, who helps lead the weapons strategy for the Rotterdam police.
The campaign's slogan, 'Drop your knife, do something with your life,' is primarily directed at young people. The Ministry of Justice wants the youth to understand that it is "not normal” and is actually “very dangerous" to walk the streets with a weapon. The government considers this necessary to reduce the number of violent crimes, including those resulting in injury or death.
Reporting by ANP and NL Times