Feelings of safety unchanged

31/03/2009 15:00
  • Number of victims of frequent crime falls further
  • People do not feel safer
  • Crime mostly experienced in own neighbourhood
  • Local crime and other neighbourhood problems often coincide with more people not feeling safe

The Dutch popluation has been less affected by crime in recent years. At the end of 2008, one in four people in the Netherlands said they had been the victim of a criminal offence in the previous twelve months; in 2005 this was just under one in three. One quarter of the population said they sometimes did not feel safe. This means the decrease in the number of people who sometimes did not feel safe that had started in 2005 did not continue. These are just a few findings of the new integrated safety monitor (Integrale Veiligheidsmonitor) published by Statistics Netherlands, and the Ministries of Internal Affairs and of Justice.

At the end of 2008, one in four people in the Netherlands said they had been the victim of a frequently occurring criminal offence, which includes violent offences, property offences and vandalism. In 2005, these crimes affected 31 percent of people; since then the trend in the number of victims of these crimes has been falling. The reported decrease in 2008 is partly the result of a slight seasonal effect in the last quarter of the year. The general decrease in the period 2005-2008 is mainly attributable to a decrease in the percentage of the population who experienced property offences such as housebreaking, bicycle theft and theft from cars, from 18 to 13 percent.

At the end of 2008, 25 percent of the population aged 15 years and older said they sometimes did not feel safe. Two percent said they often did not feel safe. In 2005, these percentages were 33 and 3 respectively. The number of people who say they sometimes or often do not feel safe has fallen almost every year since 2005. This downward trend did not continue at the end of 2008.

For most victims, crime is a local experience. Just over four out of five offences take place in the municipality where they live; three out of five in the neighbourhood where they live. These offences are mostly vandalism and theft from cars. Inhabitants in the four largest cities are more likely than others to experience crime in their own neighbourhood.
Just over one in six people in the Netherlands say they sometimes do not feel safe in their own neighbourhood. Just as vicitms of offences, this is more so in the urban regions. Other neighbourhood characteristics also correlate with not feeling safe. More people who live in neighbourhoods with social problems and where houses and local facilities are in a bad condition do not feel safe there.
The design and method of this safety monitor differ substantially from the national safety monitors published up to now. Therefore the results may vary significantly from those for earlier years. As a reult of the new method, the figures may not be compared with those from previous years. To be able to follow the developments in time, the method previously used for the national safety monitor was also applied, but on a limited scale. With the aid of these results, previous national monitor results for 2005-2008 were recalculated to be able to compare them at a national level. The results for regions and municipalities may not be compared, however.