Further drop in registered crime and suspect rates

© Hollandse Hoogte
2016 saw a further drop in registered crimes, with fewer crimes registered by the police and fewer suspects arrested compared to 2015. This decline is further reflected in the entire criminal justice system, which comprises the police, the Public Prosecution Service (OM) and the courts, among other organisations. The downward trend is also seen in the crime victimisation survey. These are just some of the developments described in a joint publication on crime and law enforcement by the Dutch Research and Document Centre (WODC), Statistics Netherlands (CBS) and the Council for the Judiciary (Raad voor de Rechtspraak), in collaboration with the Public Prosecution Department (OM) and the Dutch National Police. This publication is based on a new analysis of figures which in part have been published previously.
The volume of crime in the Netherlands is not visible in its entirety from current registrations. For instance, there is a low willingness to report crimes, only a fraction of the volume of cybercrime is accounted for, and the questions in the victimisation survey only deal with the most common forms of (cyber)crime. In addition, undermining activities are still difficult to quantify. In many cases, these concern victimless offences such as drug trafficking or the willingness to report is low due to fear of reprisal. WODC and CBS are currently investigating these phenomena in order to bring more clarity to these data.

Registered criminal offences by type
 Other offencesTraffic offencesViolent and sexual offencesVandalism and public order offencesProperty offences

In 2016, the Dutch police registered nearly 930 thousand crimes, a decline of 5.1 percent on the previous year and 29 percent fewer registered crimes than in 2007. The decrease is seen in virtually all types of crime, with the sharpest decrease (by half) relative to 2007 in vandalism and public order offences. The largest category, i.e. property offences, saw a 21 percent decline. Since the middle of 2015, these have come to include crimes reported on the Internet fraud reporting website (Landelijk Meldpunt Internet Oplichting or LMIO).

Lower suspect rate as well

In 2016, the police registered 270 thousand criminal suspects. This represents a decline by 11 percent on the previous year and by 46 percent relative to 2007. Last year there were 182 thousand individual suspects (as one suspect may have been registered multiple times within one year). Since 2007, registrations in juvenile delinquency have declined more rapidly than adult crime. Among the total of suspect registrations, 12 percent involved a minor, versus 20 percent in 2007.
Figures over 2016 are provisional; the definitive registered suspect rate is expected to be a higher figure, as a number of last year’s cases are still being solved in 2017. This will result in smaller differences with the numbers in 2015 and 2007 respectively.

Suspects and cases within criminal justice system
 Total registered suspectsPersons registered as suspectsCases disposed by Public ProsecutionCases disposed by courts

Drop in number of disposed cases

The falling suspect rate is furthermore reflected in the number of cases which were disposed by OM and the judiciary in 2016. OM disposed 203 thousand cases last year, a 1 percent decline on the previous year and 28 percent fewer than in 2007. Meanwhile, courts of justice disposed 94 thousand cases in 2016, i.e. 11 percent fewer than in 2015 and a decline of 28 percent on 2007.
In the publication Crime and law enforcement, all available statistical information on crime and actions taken against crime by the police and the judiciary are brought together by WODC, CBS and the Council for the Judiciary, in collaboration with OM and the National Police. This publication is intended to serve as a statistical resource for a wider audience: for politicians, policymakers, the press and those working in science and education. The publication gives a description of developments over the period 2007–2016 and contains new analyses of figures which have partly been published previously. The underlying data are available as separate Excel files which further include pre-2007 data as well.