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Safety inMaastricht

Objective safety

Objective safety relates to various forms of property crimes and violent crimes with which residents may be confronted in their daily living environment, such as robberies, assault, pickpocketing, and vehicle thefts.

Police figures
2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 1st half year
Theft from or break-ins of homes 953 875 514 426 424 357 99
Theft from or break-ins of lock-up storage rooms, garages, or sheds as well as theft from gardens 486 507 267 192 207 173 65
Pickpocketing 1083 915 788 713 362 433 159
Theft from or parts or accessories of motor vehicles 1092 774 774 921 736 520 110
Theft of motor vehicles 222 232 284 219 220 173 61
Theft of bicycles, motorized cycles, and mopeds - Total 2333 1967 1479 1466 1206 1587 465
Theft of bicycles 1929 1674 1197 1258 1005 1325 379
Theft of motorized cycles and mopeds 401 289 280 205 197 257 85
Robbery of bicycles 1 2 0 2 2 4 0
Robbery of motorized cycles and mopeds 2 2 2 1 2 1 1
Overt use of force (against an individual) 41 38 47 37 41 41 13
Threatening behaviour 404 348 289 267 261 305 144
Assault - Total 1143 1125 1187 1279 1202 1256 553
Shooting (without investigation) 3 1 1 3 1 3 1
Fights (without investigation) 35 42 58 60 54 44 19
Stabbing (without investigation) 1 0 1 0 2 1 0
Rows or quarrels (without investigation) 536 566 683 786 719 765 373
Common assault 501 461 390 378 371 381 136
Grievous bodily harm 67 55 54 52 55 62 24
Other assault 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Mugging 85 70 48 31 22 35 14
Home robbery 4 6 6 3 2 6 3
Company robbery 9 22 12 3 7 6 0
Safety monitor
2014 2015 2016 2017 2019
Victim of home break-ins [total attempted + burglary] [%] 8.5 4.6 4.3 3.1 2.7
Victim of theft from or parts or accessories of car [%] 2.5 1.8 1.4 1.7 1.3
Victim of car theft [%] 0.5 0.2 0.1 0.2 0.2
Victim of bicycle theft [%] 5.4 7.3 5.1 6.3 5.2
Victim of pickpocketing and robbery [incl. attempted] [%] 4.3 3 2.1 2.3 2.6
Victim of vandalism total [%] 7.8 8.5 8.8 7.1 5.8
Victim of violence total [%] 3.3 3.1 2.8 3.1 2.5

Objective safety relates to various forms of property crimes and violent crimes with which residents may be confronted in their daily living environment. These are:

  • high impact crimes: home break-ins, robbery (homes and businesses), and mugging;
  • violent crimes: threatening behaviour, assault, and street violence;
  • property crimes: basement storeroom break-in, pickpocketing, theft from or parts or accessories of vehicles, theft of vehicles, theft of bicycles, mopeds.

Records of crimes falling under this theme are affected by what is referred to as the ‘dark number’: the numbers are dependent on the extent to which members of public actually report the crimes. Their readiness depends on the degree to which the victims feel that it is worthwhile to report the crime (for insurance purposes of for prosecution).

Both the quantitative and qualitative depictions reveal that the aforementioned forms of crime exhibit a downward trend. It would appear that this decline is not limited to Maastricht, as this also appears to be a national development.

Consequently, it can be concluded that frequently occurring crime is declining. The reason for this decline are a subject of discussion amongst scientists and policy-makers. The trends in drug use and drug trafficking, increasing prosperity and increased investments in the prevention of break-ins and theft would appear to tie in with the developments in criminality and for this reason are the most frequent explanations used to account for this decline. It is also possible that crime is going online (cybercrime). However, the situation is unclear and further studies are required.

The decline in crime that is indicated by the figures is often claimed to be due to the public’s decreasing willingness to report crime. This claim is supported by the indications that as prosperity increases members of the public become less inclined to report break-ins or vandalism resulting in minor financial loss (Bernasco & Van de Weijer, 2016).

The willingness to report crimes is also influenced by the public’s perception of the preparedness of the police to take effective action (Goudriaan, Nieuwbeerta & Wittebrood, 2005). Members of the public who witness a crime may be less inclined to report it when they feel less of a bond with their neighbours (Goudriaan, 2006; Bernasco & Van de Weijer, 2016). However, the decline in the willingness to report crime identified in the period between 2005 and 2015 is less than the total decline in reported crime. Consequently, the decline in recorded crime cannot be fully explained by the lower willingness to report crime. In addition, the findings of the Safety Monitor reveal that the developments in the numbers of victims of crimes are also indicative of a decline in crime.

No conclusive explanation for the decline in the number of victims of the aforementioned forms of traditional crime is currently available. The most probable explanation lies in the emergence of situational crime prevention (SCP). SCP focuses on making crime more difficult by taking preventive measures in the area of hot spots and/or during hot times and by promoting the awareness of members of public to avoid them becoming victims of crime by eliminating opportunities for crime. SCP is derived from situational criminality,

which endeavours to explain how the immediate surroundings — the situation – can have an influence on criminality. The objective is not to increase the chance of catching criminals and rehabilitating criminals, but rather to modify the immediate surroundings that facilitate and result in criminality by taking the necessary preventive situational measures. Situational crime prevention measures need to take continual account of the situational determinants (opportunity, motive and target). This approach requires an understanding of how criminality occurs and of the offender’s motive (balancing the cost — the chance of being caught — against the benefit — the financial gain).

Jong, J. de (2018), Het mysterie van de verdwenen criminaliteit, Den Haag: Centraal Bureau voor de Statistiek Weblink

Clarke, R.V., Environmental criminology and crime analysis: Situational crime prevention. In Wortley, R & Mazerolle, L. (Eds.), Environmental criminology and crime analysis (p 178 - 194). Collumption: Willan Publishing.