Crime levels down for fifth year in Amsterdam

3rd January 2005, Comments 0 comments

3 January 2005AMSTERDAM — Despite the shocking murder of filmmaker Theo van Gogh last November, crime levels were actually down for the fifth year running in Amsterdam, the capital's police chief has confirmed.

3 January 2005

AMSTERDAM — Despite the shocking murder of filmmaker Theo van Gogh last November, crime levels were actually down for the fifth year running in Amsterdam, the capital's police chief has confirmed.

There were 27 murders in the Dutch capital in 2004, compared with 43 the year earlier, police chief Bernard Welten said when unveiling his annual report.

Complaints of crime made to police fell by 10 percent to 96,000 last year, but Welten noted that "disappointingly" the police monitor survey noted a 3 percent drop in the public's willingness to report crime.

Welten said there was an 18 percent rise in reports of domestic violence to about 5,500 cases in 2004. He put a positive gloss on this statistic, saying that the increasing willingness of victims to come forward to report violence in the home showed strong support for the police approach to the problem.

Shoplifting dropped by 13 percent in 2004, while theft and burglaries at business premises was down by 26 percent.

The annual report revealed the police arrested a total of 50,000 people last year — enough to fill Ajax Amsterdam's ArenA stadium.

Welten, who took over as police chief in November 2004, said his force was investing a lot of time and effort in large-scale operations, and guard duty to counter the threat of terrorism.

Welten backed Amsterdam Mayor Job Cohen who spoke out at the weekend against calls for the creation of a single security ministry. Currently, the Justice Ministry administers the courts and the Interior Ministry has overall responsibility for the police.

City mayors and their police chiefs remain in day-to-day control of the local police departments.

Welten agreed with Cohen that authority must remain decentralised, with the Interior Ministry dealing with any issues common to all police forces in the Netherlands.

The police chief once again raised the issue of the anonymity afforded to convicted criminals under the country's strict privacy laws. He said allowing criminals to be named more readily would help further decrease levels of shoplifting.

[Copyright Expatica News 2005]

Subject: Dutch news

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