Youth crime declines but armed and serious assaults are rising


Youth crime has declined in the last five years, but there has been an increase in some serious offences such as theft and manslaughter, according to latest figures.

The rate of decline slowed following a sharp drop-off between 2007 and 2016, when the number of young adults (aged 18 to 23) recorded as criminal suspects halved from 51 per 1,000 to 25.

The number of juvenile suspects fell even faster, from 44 per 1,000 to 17 over the same period. Between 2016 and 2020 the rate declined further to 20 in every 1,000 young adults and 13 per 1,000 under-18s.

The statistics agency CBS noted an increase in some crimes, including second-degree murder and manslaughter (‘doodslag’), where the number of under-age suspects went up by more than half to 45 in 2019. There was also a 13% increase in property crimes such as theft and violent fraud.

The overall number of juvenile suspects increased by 5% in 2019, but fell back by 10% the following year, according to provisional figures.

There was also a small rise in the numbers accused of firearms offences, by 2% for under-18s and 11% for young adults, while the number of suspects for assault was unchanged.

Youth crime prosecutor Rianne de Back told NOS Radio 1 Journaal that the increasing use of weapons was concerning. ‘We’re talking about serious violent crime such as armed muggings, where boys of 13 to 15 years old are sometimes getting involved with guns and machetes.’

Incidents of young people confronting each other on the streets with knives were also on the rise, she said. ‘Then these conflicts get out of hand and the knives are used, sometimes with fatal consequences.’

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