Less traditional crime, more cybercrime

Increasingly few people in the Netherlands report falling victim to traditional forms of crime, such as violence, burglary, theft and vandalism. The police also registered fewer of these crimes. Slightly more citizens have fallen victim to cybercrime, however. Statistics Netherlands (CBS) reports this on the basis of the latest Safety Monitor and figures registered by the Dutch national police force.

In 2019, nearly 14 percent of the Dutch population aged 15 years and over (i.e. almost 2 million persons) reported falling victim to one or several types of traditional crime. These included violent crimes (threats, assault and sexual crimes), property crimes (burglary, theft, pickpocketing and robbery) and vandalism (damage caused to vehicles and other personal belongings).

Victims of traditional crime1)
 Total (% of population aged 15 and over)Violent crimes (% of population aged 15 and over)Property crimes (% of population aged 15 and over)Vandalism (% of population aged 15 and over)
1)No measurements were taken in 2018.

Sharpest drop in property crime and vandalism

Between 2012 and 2019, the victimisation rate in traditional crime fell from almost 20 percent to less than 14 percent. The sharpest decrease was recorded in property crime and in vandalism. The share of property crime victims fell from 13 percent in 2012 to 9 percent in 2019. Vandalism victimisation fell from 8 to 5 percent over the same period. Violent crime victimisation did not decline at the same pace. This type of crime is much less prevalent than property crime and vandalism. The victimisation rate in violent crime fell from 2.6 percent (2012) to 2.0 percent (2019).

Police registered less traditional crime as well

The drop in traditional crime is also evident from police records. Relative to 2017, there were fewer registered cases of theft, violence and vandalism in 2019. This decline in registered crime corresponds to the falling number of victims. The number of reported incidents of stalking and threats (violent crimes) did increase slightly in 2019.
Theft and burglary cases have declined for several years, while domestic burglaries have even more than halved since 2012. Not all types of theft declined: last year, 1,800 more cases of shoplifting were registered than in the previous year. Furthermore, a rise is seen in reported incidents of vandalism and damage for the first time since 2012.

Registered traditional crimes
 Theft and burglary (x 1,000 )Vandalism (x 1,000 )Violent and sexual crimes (x 1,000 )Total (x 1,000 )
*provisional figures

More cybercrime victims

Last year, 13 percent of people aged 15 and over indicated they had been victims of one or more types of cybercrime. This was 12 percent in 2012 and 11 percent in 2017. Cybercrime is crime involving digital forms of identity fraud, purchase and selling fraud, hacking and cyber bullying (defamation, stalking, blackmail and threats of violence committed online).
In registered crime rates, cybercrime is included among offences against property. Since 2017, police crime records have shown a rise in hacking incidents (doubled), identity fraud (+17 percent) and online fraud (+39 percent).

Victims of cybercrime1)
 Total (% of population aged 15 and over)Identity fraud (% of population aged 15 and over)Purchasing and selling fraud (% of population aged 15 and over)Hacking (% of population aged 15 and over)Cyberbullying (% of population aged 15 and over)
1)No measurements were taken in 2018.

Traditional crime declined by over one-third

According to the Safety Monitor, last year’s victimisation rate in traditional crime was down by almost one-third (-31 percent) on 2012. Over the same period, the number of police-recorded crimes declined by 41 percent. The police have observed a rise in other types of crime such as drug-related crime and traffic violations (not measured in the Safety Monitor) since 2018, after years of decline.

Less willingness to report

A rising number of victims of traditional crime indicate they did not report or officially report the crime to/with the police. Whereas in 2012, the crime reporting rate stood at 38 percent, this was 32 percent in 2019. Over the same period, the willingness to report declined from 29 to 23 percent. Therefore, two-thirds of the crimes affecting victims in 2019 were not included in the police crime records.

Traditional crime, cybercrime and willingness to report
 Victims of traditional crime1) (2012 = 100)Registered crimes (police) (2012 = 100)Victims of cybercrime1) (2012 = 100)Willingsness to report traditional crime1) (2012 = 100)
* Provisional registered crime figures 1)No measurements were taken in 2018.

Not all crime measured

The Safety Monitor is a population survey which measures victimisation rates for the most common types of traditional crime and cybercrime affecting people in the Netherlands. This news release does not focus on victimless crimes, which are comparatively less prevalent and which generally do not directly affect residents. Examples include drug-related crime, human trafficking, fraud and money laundering. These types of crime may have wide-reaching social impact, however.