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Burglaries in the Netherlands nearly halved since 200918 February 2014, by Alexandra Gowling
The number of burglaries in the Netherlands fell last year by 17 per cent, another significant result for a joint approach by police, public prosecutors, municipalities and businesses that has seen the total number of robberies drop by 44,5 per cent in five years.
In 2013, there were 1.633 robberies of homes and businesses committed in the Netherlands, which far outstripped the Minister of Safety and Justice's ambition of less than 1.900.
In 2009, that number was 2.898, dropping to 2.572 in 2010, then 2.272 in 2011 and 1.982 in 2012.
According to statistics, theft and burglary are the most common crimes in the Netherlands.
Greater investment to stop thieves
The Dutch police and judiciary have invested a great deal in recent years to increase their effectiveness in preventing robberies, including forming the Robbery Taskforce in 2009 and special police raiding teams.
This has meant that while burglaries have decreased, the police's clear-up rate (number of solved robberies to number of robberies) has increased, while more suspects are now being arrested and dealt with by the Public Prosecution Service.
Police have also been working more closely with the business community to share information, which businesses can use to increase their own security. There have also been campaigns aimed at the public, for example to encourage electronic payments to reduce the amount of cash.
The classic bank robbery almost extinct
The classic "bank job" is almost an historical footnote in the Netherlands, as last year there was just one banked held up, as opposed to 13 in 2010.
"Banks have no money in their coffers," said a spokesman for the National Dutch Police. "The money is in the ATMs and banks have made these more secure in recent years. Moreover, thud- and ram-raids are perpetrated by professional robbers, quite a number of whom we have arrested."
Robberies in Amsterdam
Amsterdam, however, is an exception to the general downward trend. Last year, the number of burglaries in the capital rose by 19 per cent from a year earlier, to 232, with most robberies being committed in the centre of the city.
Nevertheless, that number is still quite a bit lower than in 2010, when there were nearly 400 robberies in Amsterdam.