Amsterdam crime rate falls, but robberies rise
8 June 2004
AMSTERDAM — The total number of crimes reported to Amsterdam police declined by 12 percent to 40,665 in the first five months of 2004, but the number of robberies increased.
Crime reports fell by 6.5 percent in 2003 and if this year’s developments continue, the number of crime reports could be restricted to less than 100,000 in 2004. Police had aimed to restrict crime reports under the 100,000 figure in 2006.
Amsterdam police chief Jelle Kuiper said in presenting the police region’s annual report on Tuesday that the decline is largely due to co-operative actions at a local level between Amsterdam Council and the Public Prosecution Office (OM), news agency ANP reported.
He said reduced criminality is not only brought about by repression, but also with prevention. “I will dare to say that safety must be organised close to the problem and together with relevant partners under direction of the local administration,” he said.
Kuipers also said a society without criminality is a utopia and that no one knows where the attainable base level is. “But we have a strong ambition to continually make our region safer,” he asserted.
In the first five months of this year, there was especially a decline in Amsterdam of thefts and burglaries in homes, cars and other vehicles. The number of police reports related to such crime fell by 20 percent.
But there was a large increase in the number of robberies in the first part of 2004, rising by 34 percent to 222. Police allege a group of 19 robbers — who were arrested in April on suspicion of at least 49 robberies — were responsible for the increase.
The annual report for 2003 indicated that a large number of crimes declined. House burglary police reports, for example, fell by 9 percent last year and car break-ins declined by 14 percent, Dutch public news service NOS reported.
But the number of manslaughter and murder cases increased from 23 in 2002 to 37 last year. The number of sex offence police complaints was unchanged and drug-related crimes also remained stable.
Meanwhile, Kuiper said he was not enthused about a proposed creation of a centrally-managed national police force. He said the enormously interwoven relationship between Dutch local administration and safety is not found anywhere else in Europe.
“Strong national (police) corps stand more opposed to their population — are more repressive,” he said.
Kuipers believes that replacing local police forces with a national organisation — as discussed recently in the Netherlands — would create a police force especially equipped for “macro tasks” such as the creation of an intelligence system.
The outgoing police chief also criticised Minister Remkes for overloading police with too many directives.
[Copyright Expatica News 2004]
Subject: Dutch news