The amount of recorded crime in Amsterdam fell sharply last year, with armed robberies down 32% and muggings down 20%, according to new official figures.
Nevertheless, the capital does show ‘two realities’, the city’s mayor Eberhard van der Laan said at the presentation of the figures on Monday.
While there has been a drop in high impact crimes which directly affect Amsterdammers, the four gangland killings since the start of the year ‘has had a great impact on feelings of public safety,’ Van der Laan is quoted as saying by the Volkskrant.
Police chief Pieter-Jaap Aalbersberg said the new figures, which include a 19% drop in burglaries, fit the national trend. ‘A special offensive to try to catch burglars in the act has worked,’ Aalbersberg said. ‘We have also noticed that Amsterdammers are more likely to ring 112 if they see something suspicious.’
Amsterdam also has list of 600 young criminals who are targeted with a tailor-made approach. Last year, the number of people on the list who again became involved in high impact crimes fell 52%, while for other crimes the percentage of re-offenders was down 41%, Van der Laan said.
‘In general, those on the top 600 list are less involved in crime than they were before we got involved,’ he said.
There were 25 murders in Amsterdam last year, of which 10 were gang-related. Two-thirds of the violent deaths were solved but the gang violence is more difficult to crack, Van der Laan said.
In the last six months of 2014, police seized 31 automatic weapons in the city, including 23 kalashnikov rifles.
The killers themselves are different to years ago, Aalbersberg said. ‘In the early 1990s, hit men would come in from abroad, but now the suspects are more likely to come from the city. They swap burglary for murder,’ he said.