Public feeling of safety improves
22 March 2004
AMSTERDAM — The public’s feeling of safety remained stabilised last year as figures from the Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS) revealed on Monday that the increase in the number of people who felt unsafe flattened out in 2003.
The CBS said almost 25 percent of the population felt unsafe last year, but that there were fewer people in comparison with 2002 who said they felt afraid when they were home alone.
Despite this, six out of 10 people said they would not open the door at night if someone was knocking, news agency ANP reported.
About 15 percent of survey respondents said they adjusted their behaviour while out at night to ensure they did not encounter any problems. The CBS said this figure had scarcely changed in recent years.
Especially young and elderly people feel unsafe in the Netherlands, with 29 percent of people aged between 12 and 24 admitting they feel unsafe. This percentage declines in older age groups.
But a greater number of Dutch nationals above the age of 65 experience fear in certain situations and 80 percent said they would not answer a knock at the door at night. About a quarter of this age group said they adjusted their behaviour when out at night.
The Dutch government has expressed concern in recent years about the issue of public safety. The number of people who feel unsafe has been rising since 2000 and the issue of crime featured prominently in campaigning for the 2002 and 2003 general elections.
To help alleviate the situation, the government has committed itself to increasing the nation’s police force numbers and cracking down on crime and repeat offenders. Plans are also afoot to toughen prison sentences.
[Copyright Expatica News 2004]
Subject: Dutch news