Pickpocketing in Amsterdam rose sharply last year
The Netherlands may still be in a recession, but pickpockets in Amsterdam have had a great last year, with the police reporting a 30% increase in incidents compared to 2011, as reported by Het Parool.
According to Amsterdam’s chief of police, Pieter-Jaap Aalbersberg, the site of pickpocketing is no longer primarily the street or on public transport, but rather is shifting towards entertainment venues like clubs. Smartphones, the iPhone 5 in particular, are popular items to steal.
Street robberies (e.g. purse snatching) in Amsterdam also increased (+6,5%) in 2012, as did the number of burglaries (+3,6%).
On the other hand, muggings were down about 30% and there were fewer violent incidents associated with nightlife. The police also made 12% fewer arrests at 35.292, compared with 40.356 in 2011.
According to Aalbersberg, the average age of both the perpetrators and victims of street robberies has decreased dramatically, and about 43% of the perpetrators are younger than 17.
Last year over 8.000 Apple devices were reported stolen to the police, most of which were iPhones. Aalbersberg thinks being able to block devices more easily will help, and the Minister of Justice agrees - plans are already in the works with three major telephone service providers.
As far as more serious crime is concerned, even though the city was rocked by several shooting incidents at the end of the year, overall the number of violent deaths in Amsterdam was relatively low in 2012.