One third of city dwellers crime victims

In 2002 just over 27 percent of the Dutch population aged twelve and older were victims of frequently occurring crime. The more urban the municipality is, the more likely the inhabitants will have been the victim. Inhabitants of very strongly urbanised municipalities most often felt unsafe, too, in 2002.

Victim rates by degree of urbanisation, 1997-2002

Increased risks in strongly and moderately urbanised areas

Inhabitants of extremely urbanised areas ran the greatest risk of being the victim of a crime like theft, violence, vandalism or a hit-and-run accident. In 2002, 33 percent of the population were the victim of at least one of these crimes. For countryside dwellers this was 20 percent. For people living in urbanised and moderately urbanised areas the chance of being a victim of a crime increased in 2002. For people living in extremely urbanised municipalities it remained about the same.

City dwellers increasingly victims of violence and theft

One in twelve inhabitants of extremely urbanised municipalities experienced a violent crime such as physical abuse, threatening behaviour or a sex offence in 2002. This was twice as many as people living in the countryside. People in cities also suffered from theft twice as many times last year: nearly 18 percent had a bicycle, car or other property stolen.

Victim rates by degree of urbanisation and type crime, 2002

Slightly different picture for vandalism

In the case of vandalism, though, inhabitants of strongly urbanised areas were more often victims that those living in extremely urbanised areas. The differences by degree of urbanisation for vandalism are smaller than for violent crime and theft.

City dwellers feel less safe

Inhabitants of more urban areas more often feel unsafe. Nearly twice as many city dwellers as countryside dwellers felt unsafe at some time in 2002. If someone rang the front door bell unexpectedly at ten o’clock in the evening, three quarters of people living in cities would not open the door without thinking. This proportion was substantially lower in the least urbanised municipalities.

Feeling unsafe by degree of urbanisation, 2002

Unsafe locations and going out

City dwellers know of more unsafe locations in their neighbourhood where they would rather not be alone. Finally, more than twice as many city as countryside dwellers have changed the way they go out in the evening so they do not become victims of crime.

Miranda de Vree