More police staff and innovation needed to tackle crime in Amsterdam


A shift towards less visible law-breaking such as cybercrime and a lack of police staff are making crime more difficult to tackle in Amsterdam, the Parool reports.

New trends, such as knife crime and cybercrime, demand innovative measures but police and the justice department are struggling with a lack of staff, mayor Femke Halsema said during the annual press conference on behalf of the prosecution office, the mayor’s office and police.

Police in the Amsterdam region registered a total 88,403 crimes in 2019, ranging from bike and motorbike theft (12,100 instances) to violent crime (7,629). The figures are no longer falling although they are still significantly lower than in previous decades.

The mayor said early intervention is crucial if police want to prevent the rise of violent drugs gangs. Knife crime in the capital is also a worrying trend, the mayor said, although no figures are available for the number of youths armed with knives or other weapons.

The city has issued knife bans in parts of Amsterdam Oost, Zuidoost and the centre, and police are helping schools check pupils’ lockers, as well as developing more targeted search strategies, the paper said.

Arms race

‘It’s as if there is an arms race going on and the anecdotal evidence is shocking,’ Halsema said. She said the work of the police is made more difficult because of a culture of ‘no snitching’ among youngsters.

Staffing problems are also made worse because of the number of demonstrations that have to be policed. There were 1446 demonstrations in the capital in 2019, compared with just 240 in 2014.

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