Crime fell to an all-time low in most municipalities in the first nine months of the year. The number of reports of online crime, on the other hand, is on the rise. This trend can be explained by the corona pandemic in combination with the strict corona measures.
This is evident from recent police statistics, which have been viewed by Algemeen Dagblad .
Fewer burglaries and robberies
Fewer reports of traditional crime and more reports of cybercrime. It is a trend that we have been seeing for several years. The most recent figures show that we should not expect a turnaround for the time being.
Compared to 2019, the number of burglaries decreased by as much as 42 percent this year to 14,125. Last year, the number of reports of this type of crime fell by almost 20 percent. The number of street robberies decreased in the past two years by 36 percent to 1,475, while the number of robberies fell from 43 percent to 427. The number of burglaries has been on the rise again in recent weeks, but there are still considerably fewer reports in the Netherlands. comparison with 2020.
National robbery coordinator Jos van der Stap was initially surprised at the decline in this so-called high impact crime . “It’s actually quite strange. Because if there is a need to steal, you would expect people to continue to do so,” he tells Algemeen Dagblad.
Citizens are more likely to report suspicious situations to the police due to the corona pandemic
Opportunity makes the thief, Van der Stap realizes all too well. A burglar strikes when he thinks the chance of being caught is low. Because a large part of the working Netherlands has had to work from home since March 2020 – the moment the cabinet introduced the first lockdown – crooks suddenly had a problem. “The opportunity to commit burglaries became a lot less,” said the national robbery coordinator.
The same reasoning also applies to robberies and robberies. Because schools and catering businesses had to close for a long time, criminals had less opportunity to make their move. Because shops were only open by appointment, there was less to get. In addition, much less cash has been paid since the start of the corona crisis. Crooks made the assessment that it is not worth the effort to strike.
Another positive development as a result of the corona crisis is that the police solved more cases. The resolution rate rose from 10 to 13 percent for burglaries, and from 50 to 60 percent for robberies. Van der Stap emphasizes that this is not because the police suddenly have time to spare: because people largely work from home, they are more likely to report suspicious situations to the police. “It is much easier for us to arrest someone in the act than to track down afterwards. The deterrent effect on the suspect is also much greater,” says Van der Stap.
Cyber crime on the rise
The number of traditional forms of crime has been decreasing since the outbreak of the corona crisis. This does not apply to internet crime, online scams and fraud. The police figures clearly show a shift from the physical world to the digital domain. Until September of this year, the number of reports of cybercrime was 9,561. That is almost as many as in Hell 2020, when the police received 10,177 reports. Compared to the first eight months of 2019, the cybercrime share increased by 225 percent.
Theo van der Plas, program director Digitization and Cybercrime, says that cybercrime was already on the rise before 2019. This development has accelerated due to the corona pandemic. “People became more digitally dependent, so it became more and more interesting for thieves to step into that world,” Van der Plas told Algemeen Dagblad.
The program director emphasizes that the threshold for scammers to defraud people digitally is very low. Using phishing panels and other software, fraudsters with limited technical knowledge can make victims. Such programs are inexpensive and accessible to everyone. “This feels much easier for them. There is no physical contact and they feel the pain of their victims much less,” says Van der Plas. According to the most recent figures, the police receive an average of 100 reports of WhatsApp fraud every day . The damage as a result is estimated at 13 million euros.
Cybercrime is on the rise, as are traditional crimes
The police take into account that internet scams and other forms of cybercrime will grow rapidly in the coming years. “Criminals are developing at lightning speed, but we see that many people still feel like it won’t happen to them. As long as that is the case, there is still a lot to be achieved,” says Van der Plas.
The historically low figures for traditional crimes will not remain at their current level, the head of the Digitization and Cybercrime department expects. For example, the number of violent incidents involving firearms and knives among young people is increasing. “We should not be naive and think that the world has now definitely changed. If the opportunity increases again, because people work from home less, that could change again.”
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