Over one third of the teenagers sent to a specialist youth social work agency after committing a petty offence return to crime after leaving the programme, the national statistics office CBS said on Friday.
The Bureau Halt programme targets 12 to 18-year-olds and focuses on changing patterns of behaviour. Teenagers who agree to go through the course do not get a criminal record. They are expected to talk with social workers, carry out community service tasks or educational projects and apologise to their victims.
Just over half of those who drop out during the course go on to reoffend, the CBS said. The figures also show that the younger the offender, the more likely they are to get involved in crime once they have gone through the Halt system.
Bureau Halt was set up in 1981 in Rotterdam to deal with teenagers who are at risk of getting into serious trouble and has since gone nationwide. Some 17,000 youngsters a year are referred to the centres.