The number of armed robberies on homes and business premises in the Netherlands continues to go down but police chiefs say in Thursday’s Telegraaf they are concerned that the robbers are getting younger.
Last year there were 1,103 armed robberies across the country, a drop of 30 on 2016 and well down on 2009 when they reached a peak of over 3,000.
Of the total, 396 robberies were carried out on private homes, virtually the same as in 2016.
‘It would appear that the professional robber is now turning to other sorts of crime, such as blowing up ATMs or the drugs trade which deliver more profits,’ police armed robbery coordinator Jos van der Stap told the paper. ‘For example, there were just two armed robberies on jewellery shops last year.’
Today’s armed robbery is more of a a ‘hit and run’, impulsive crime, he said. ‘But it is extremely concerning that a lot of these sort of robberies are committed by youngsters, particularly in cities like Amsterdam and Rotterdam.’
Among the examples cited by the Telegraaf: in November a 14-year-old with a knife tried to rob a cafe in Zoetermeer and in Rotterdam, police have arrested a 13 and 15-year-old for robbing a haberdashery store.
Police say that the number of youngsters involved in crime is now being analysed, which will give a better picture of the problem.