Criminal drug addicts dying out

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The number of burglaries and thefts from cars has dropped substantially as a result of the near extinction of criminal drug addicts.

ewspaper AD comes to this conclusion based on the figures of its ‘Crime Meter’ which will be published at the end of this week. Each year, the Crime Meter presents the latest Dutch crime figures based on data supplied by the regional police forces.

In 2001, one in 70 Dutch car owners became the victim of theft compared to one in 178 last year. The number of people whose homes were broken into also saw a substantial decline, from one in 170 in 2001 to one in 270 last year.

The downward trend is reportedly the result of a more intensive approach to criminal drug addicts. In the new approach, introduced in the 1990s, the most notorious repeat offenders had an officer assigned to them who kept them under near-continuous surveillance.

Existing legislation was amended to allow for extended prison sentences and compulsory rehabilitation programmes for repeat offenders. Vehicle and home security have improved and heroin is much less popular than it used to be.

Also, many addicts are now living in supervised housing projects or have found jobs and are no longer dependent on crime for their income. Burglary suspects these days are increasingly professionals from Eastern Europe.

© Radio Netherlands Worldwide

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