The crime rate in the Netherlands continues to fall and the number of reported crimes is now back at the same level as 1980, the national statistics office CBS said on Monday.
Last year, 49 crimes were reported for every 1,000 members of the population, compared with 93 per 1,000 in 2001 and 2001 when the decline set in, the CBS said.
This picture is reflected across other European countries, where crime rates rose well into the 1990s and then began to fall, the CBS says.
The statistics agency report looks at recorded crime between 1948 and 2017 and suggests that a willingness to report crime may have an impact on the figures.
Although the police have made it easier to report crime using the phone or internet, the increase in prosperity means people are less likely to report crime if the damage or loss is minor. In addition, some people don’t bother to report crime because they think the police will ignore it.
To assess if the perception of public crime reflects the declining crime rate, the CBS also looked at existing research into the victims of crime and other surveys. It found that overall people feel that the Netherlands has become a safer place, in terms of both their own experiences and their gut feelings.
However, a confidential police report leaked to media in January 2017 suggested some 3.5 million crimes actually go unregistered every year and that 18% of the population had been a victim of crime, in some cases more than once.
That report stated that the discrepancy between experienced and reported crime, for instance in the cases of burglary or theft, can be explained by the fact that people accept this type of crime as something that is inevitable: willingness to report dropped by 23% in the last 10 years.
The fact that many reported crimes are not investigated also influences people’s willingness to report crime, Trouw said at the time. Some 57% of reported crimes are not investigated for lack of clues while 70% percent of crimes reported via the internet are not followed up for the same reason.
This January, the two biggest Dutch trade union federations called for an independent inquiry into the Netherlands’ crime figures because of concerns that the real statistics are much higher than those published by the police, among others.
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