More cybercrime, less theft in Netherlands last year

AMSTERDAM - In the second coronavirus year 2021, the police again registered a decrease in shoplifting and burglaries and an increase in cybercrime. The shift from physical to online crime was also clearly visible the year before. According to the police, the development has been ongoing for some time but is reinforced by the coronavirus.

Reports of burglaries fell by a quarter. Shoplifting also fell for the second year in a row, by almost 11 percent. The police registered 14,000 cases of cybercrime. That is an increase of nearly a third compared to a year earlier and three times more than in 2019.

"This is a trend that we have been seeing for a while," said a police spokesperson. "There is a clear shift from physical crime to online crime. The burglar no longer comes to your home but now comes via WhatsApp or a phishing email." The coronavirus measures reinforced this trend. "Crime moved with what was happening: everyone was at home, so criminals looked for other methods."

According to the spokesperson, the increase in registered cybercrime is not so much because the police have started to enforce more online. "We base ourselves on figures from reports that were made. We then try to adjust our communication accordingly by warning people. But online criminals are sophisticated."


Other forms of theft were also less common last year. For example, fewer cars were stolen and muggings committed. Pickpocketing was also less common. In total, over 7 percent fewer crimes were reported to the police than a year earlier.

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