Domestic burglary has fallen significantly in the Netherlands in recent years. But this decrease is not equally strong everywhere in the country. The impact of domestic burglaries is high, and the costs are considerable.
Against this background, the Crime Phenomena Approach team of the Youth, Family and Crime Phenomena Directorate (DJFC) of the Ministry of Justice has requested a literature study to map out what lessons we can learn from abroad about the prevention of domestic burglary.
Our trend analysis shows that domestic burglaries decrease the least in the more thinly populated provinces. At the municipal level, it is notable that mainly rural municipalities and municipalities surrounding medium-sized and large cities are hotspots. Zooming in on the cities, we see that the vulnerable neighbourhoods are the most frequently burgled in absolute numbers.
Tailoring to local causes
To tackle the risk of domestic burglary, it is necessary to understand the factors that are locally associated with that risk. By gaining insight into the local causes, it is possible to determine which package of measures is most effective. The police usually have information about those local factors. They can play an advisory role towards other partners, such as municipalities, housing corporations, property developers and, for example, Victim Support Netherlands. Cooperation and coordination with other parties are still too rare at the moment.
Increasing burglary resistance and attractiveness of the neighbourhood
Certain factors in the social and physical environment mean that some neighbourhoods have a higher risk of burglary than others. We, therefore, recommend that the principles of Crime Preventions through Environmental Design (CPTED) be taken into account when designing and building neighbourhoods and homes. Examples are the burglar resistance of houses and the attractiveness of the neighbourhood. The CPTED principles are included in the Buildings Decree and the Police Residential Security Warranty (Politiekeurmerk Veilig Wonen, PKVW). For newly built houses, this means that careful testing against the Buildings Decree when issuing permits and the application of the PKVW is a possibility to reduce the chance of a new neighbourhood becoming a hotspot. It is also advisable to have a certified CPTED Expert assist in developing new neighbourhoods and homes. For existing dwellings, it is necessary to know which factors in the social and physical environment are related to the risk of domestic burglary to make targeted adjustments. Examples include installing cameras or demarcating private and public land with a fence. Another example is improving public spaces to encourage people to use them more. This, in turn, leads to more social control, leading to greater social cohesion.
On the ProHIC website: www.ProHIC.nl