Violent crime cases often dismissed

A revised version of this article has been published on 30 July.

Over 41 percent of violent crimes were dismissed by the Public Prosecutor (OM) in 2007. The dismissal rate for violent crimes has been higher than for other crimes covered by the Penal Code for many years. The total amount of cases dismissed by the OM has been stable since 2000.

Total number of dismissals stable

Public prosecutors in the Netherlands settled over 122 thousand cases in 2007. If a crime case is settled, it is not taken to court, but dealt with by the Public Prosecutor.

Nearly two thirds of OM settlements are transactions and the proportion is growing, particularly the number of community service sentences imposed by the OM. One quarter of legal settlements imposed by public prosecutors are dismissed, i.e. the OM refrains from prosecution, for instance because of lack of evidence. The
transaction rate has been all but stable since 2000.

Dismissals by the Public Prosecutor

Dismissals by the Public Prosecutor

More violent crimes and vandalism

One quarter of cases dealt with by the OM in 2007, were crimes against property. The amount of crimes against property has been stable since 2000.

The share of violent crimes, vandalism and violation of public order, on the other hand, has increased. In 2000, 11 percent of settlements by the OM concerned violent crimes, as against 19 percent in 2007. Vandalism and violation of public order rose from 12 to 17 percent over the same period.

Number of dismissals by type of crime

Number of dismissals by type of crime

Violent crimes often dismissed

The Public Prosecutor settled nearly 23 thousand violent crime cases in 2007. Over 41 percent were dismissed. With 45 percent, the dismissal rate of violent crimes was also way above average (25 percent of all dismissals in 2000).
With respect to violent crimes, there has been a remarkably high amount of dismissals on the grounds of non-likelihood of conviction since 2003.

Nynke de Lange