Crime victims feel unsafe for a long time

16/10/2012 15:00

Victims of frequently occurring crimes feel less safe than non-victims for a number of years. Victims also avoid unsafe locations more than non-victims. In addition, more of them think they will be a victim again than non-victims. The impact is particularly large for people who have experienced a violent crime or who have been a crime victim more than once.

Nearly four in ten victims sometimes feel unsafe

Every year, one quarter of the population aged over 15 years in the Netherlands are the victim of frequently occurring crime, such as burglary or violence. One year later, 38 percent of these victims had felt unsafe at some point. This is nearly three time as many as among non-victims, of whom 14 percent sometimes feel unsafe. People who have experienced crime fist hand avoid unsafe place three times as often as non-victims. They are also more likely to think they will be a victim again in the future. Thirteen percent of victims, for example, think it very likely their home will be broken into.

Feelings of anxiety among victims of frequently occurring crime, 2011

Feelings of anxiety among victims of frequently occurring crime, 2011

Victims of violent crime in particular feel unsafe for a long time

The effect of a crime can last for a long time. Even for crimes occurring one to five years previously, 28 percent of victims still sometimes feel unsafe. This is still twice as many as people who have not been experienced crime. Violent crimes in particular leave their mark for a long time. More than one third of victims of violent crimes, for example, still sometimes feel unsafe years later .

Impact largest for victims of more than one crime

People who have been the victim of a crime more than once experience most feelings of fear. Half of them sometimes feel unsafe one year after their last experience, three and a half times as many as among non-victims. Victims of multiple crimes also avoid unsafe places five times as often non-victims, and are seven times as likely to think they will be a victim again. One to five years later, the anxiety of victims of two or more crimes has diminished, but is still much higher than among non-victims.

Feelings of anxiety among victims of two or more  frequently occurring crimes, 2011

Feelings of anxiety among victims of two or more  frequently occurring crimes, 2011

Ger Linden and Simon van den Bighelaar