Distribution of well-being: safety

A safe society, and specifically feeling safe, are important aspects of well-being. As well as being physically injured, victims of crime may suffer financial, material or emotional damage, which can have a negative impact on their quality of life (Lamet and Wittebrood, 2009).

For further information on crime victim rates, their consequences and the perception of safety in the Dutch population, see CBS’ 2023 Safety monitor (CBS, 2024).

  • Men, people in age groups up to 55 years, people with high levels of education and people born outside the Netherlands or who have at least one parent born outside the Netherlands are more likely than average to be victims of crime. Most victims are reported in age group 15 to 24 years.
  • Fewest victims are reported among the over-75s, people with low and medium levels of education, and people born in the Netherlands whose parents were also born in the Netherlands.

Crime victims

Situation in 2023

In 2023, 19.9 percent of the Dutch population aged 15 years and older reported having been victim of a crime during the preceding twelve months. This included violent crimes, crimes against property and vandalism. Property crimes were the most common (10.8 percent), while vandalism (6.5 percent) and violence (6.4 percent) were less frequent. The indicator does not include cybercrime.

  • Men are slightly more likely to have been victims of crime than women.
  • The crime victim rate decreases with older ages. The percentage of people in age categories up to 54 years who had been victims of crime was higher than average, while in the over-55 age categories the percentage was below average. The highest crime victim rate was reported in the 15- to 24-year age group, the lowest rate was among the over-75s.
  •  The crime victim rate was higher than average among higher educated people and lower among groups with medium and low education levels.
  • A lower than average percentage of people born in the Netherlands whose parents were also born in the Netherlands reported having been victims of crime. People born outside the Netherlands or with at least one parent born outside the Netherlands were relatively more likely to have been a victim.

The characteristics sex, age, education level and origin/country of birth correlate with each other. The percentage of higher educated people, for example, is not the same in all age groups. This is taken into account by standardising the figures, correcting for the variation in the occurrence of the above characteristics. On the basis of standardised figures on crime victims the above findings remain largely unchanged. There is one exception: the share of people aged 45 to 54 years who had been the victim of a crime was no longer higher than average in the corrected figures.

Moreover, the differences in crime victim rates between the three origin/country-of-birth groups are also slightly smaller after standardisation. The results become less favourable mainly for people born in the Netherlands with one or both parents born outside Europe. This group comprises a relatively large number of younger people, who are more likely to be crime victims. But even on the basis of the standardised figures, people in this group are still more likely than average to have been a crime victim.

Changes between 2019 and 2023

The total proportion of people saying they had been victim of a crime was 1 percentage point lower in 2023 than in 2019 . Compared with this decrease for the population as a whole, the following groups showed different developments:

  • The percentage of young people (up to 25 years) who were crime victims rose by 2.4 percentage points in 2023. The percentage of 55- to 64-year-olds who were victims showed a more favourable than average trend, with a fall of 2.8 percentage points.
  • The victim rate among people with low levels of education showed an unfavourable trend, up by 1 percentage point. For people with medium and those with high levels of education, the developments were relatively favourable, with decreases of 2.0 and 2.5 percentage points respectively.