Thefts along the coast peak in summertime

© Hollandse Hoogte / Hans van Rhoon
On the coast, minor property crimes are more frequent during the summer compared to the rest of the year. This is not the case for other parts of the Netherlands. Over one-quarter of the pickpocketing cases which were registered in coastal areas during the period 2016-2018 occurred in July and August. Elsewhere in the country, pickpocketing was less frequent in summer than in other seasons. Statistics Netherlands (CBS) reports this based on a new analysis.

Minor property offences committed in July and August, coastal areas, 2016-2018
 Coastal areas (% of offences in July and August relative to annual total 2))Rest of the Netherlands (% of offences in July and August relative to annual total 2))
Bicycle theft24.917.2
Vehicle-related theft
(excl. passenger cars and vessels) 1)
1) Vehicles include bicycles, mopeds, motorcycles and scooters, for example. Excluded are passenger cars and vessels. 2) Average of July and August in case of equal distribution = 16.7%

Minor property offences committed in coastal areas occur relatively often during the summer months of July and August. Within this category, there was mainly a peak in the share of registered pickpocketing crimes: 27 percent occurred during summer. Bicycle thefts and other vehicle-related thefts follow at 25 and 23 percent respectively.

Even in summer, however, pickpocketing does not rank at the top of minor property crimes committed along the coast. In the months of July and August combined over the period 2016-2018, the largest category of minor property offences were ‘other thefts’ with on average 690 registered cases. These were mainly simple thefts of items such as a mobile phone or a pair of sunglasses. This category was followed by bicycle theft (580), swindling (330) and burglary from passenger cars (300). The Dutch police force recorded 100 cases of pickpocketing.

Minor property offences are high-volume, money-driven crimes. The offender generally receives a lighter penalty, while these crimes are less privacy-intrusive than the more serious property crimes such as street robbery and domestic burglary.

Pickpocketing victim usually from another municipality

In coastal areas, 65 percent of summertime pickpocketing victims are from a different municipality than where the offence takes place. This share is over twice as high as in the case of vehicle-related theft – i.e. items stolen from mopeds, bicycles, motorcycles or scooters (29 percent) – as well as bicycle theft (25 percent). Situations where the victim lives in the same municipality as where the offence took place mainly occur in cases of bicycle theft (63 percent) and vehicle-related theft. In the rest of the country, incidences of pickpocketing, robbery, bicycle mugging or vehicle-related theft are more likely to happen in the victim’s own place of residence than is happening near the coast.

Incidences of vehicle-related theft as well as bicycle theft involve a greater share of non-resident victims than elsewhere in the Netherlands. Non-resident victims include day or overnight tourists or people who are here temporarily.

Victims of minor property offences committed in July and August, 2016-2018
 Lives in municipality of offence (%)Lives in different municipality (%)Not registered in the Netherlands (%)
Coastal area27.164.78.2
Rest of the Netherlands43.437.818.9
Bicycle theft
Coastal area62.624.812.6
Rest of the Netherlands79.118.62.3
Theft from other mode of transport
Coastal area53.428.917.7
Rest of the Netherlands66.928.44.7

Minor property offences on the coast have the highest summer peak

The share of crimes committed during summer is larger in coastal areas than in the rest of the country. Of all registered crimes taking place along the coast, the share of property crimes saw the highest peak during summer (21 percent). Violent crimes are more likely to occur there in the summer period as well. On average, 1.4 thousand minor property offences per month were recorded by the police in July and August. This is one-quarter more than the average number of crimes registered per month, which is approximately 1.1 thousand. Vandalism (over 400 offences per month during summer) and violent crimes (over 300 reported cases) follow at a distance.

Offences committed in July and August, average 2016-2018
 Coastal areas (% of offences in July and August relative to annual total 1))Rest of the Netherlands (% of offences in July and August relative to annual total 1))
Minor property offences20.916.5
Violent and sexual offences20.117.6
Vandalism and offences against public order17.515.6
High-impact property offences16.515.7
1) Average of July and August in case of equal distribution = 16.7%

Overnight stays at the coast peak in summer

In coastal areas, the number of overnight stays in tourist accommodations in July and August was more than double the annual average in the period 2016-2018. With an average of over 4 million nights spent per month, this summer peak does not occur in any other touristic part of the country. The coast also attracts relatively many day tourists.