Significant increase in willingness to report since start corona crisis
In 2020, Meld Misdaad Anoniem (Report Crime Anonymously, M.) received a record number of 25,818 reports – an increase of more than fifty percent. Analysis of the annual figures shows a clear impact of the lockdown on the criminal situation. Due to corona virus restrictions, signs of drug trafficking on the streets and from homes -amongst other crimes- became more visible, and cybercrime increased. In addition, there was a significant increase in reports regarding violent crimes, such as assault and public violence.
Since the start of the corona crisis, the number of reports on criminal acts increased across the board. From March onwards, M. has forwarded more than 2,000 tips every month to police and other investigative authorities. For many years, the average was around 1,400 tips a month. Spokesperson Marc Janssen: “There were more reports on almost all forms of crime last year. Spokesperson Marc Janssen: Social involvement is currently at a very high level. Serious criminal injustices are less accepted now, and people are more willing to report signs of crime.”
Changes in living environmentJanssen: “The changes in people’s living environment are an important factor in the increase in the number of tips. People were more likely to be in the immediate vicinity of their homes and streets were less crowded than usual. Therefore, potential signs of crime could be noticed much quicker. For example, there was an increase in the number of reports regarding the dealing in hard- and softdrugs from homes and on the street (+97%), illegal prostitution (+98%) and subversive activtities (+81%).
Janssen: “Public areas, where perpetrators could normally operate inconspicuously, suddenly became much more quiet due to the effect of the coronavirus restrictions. As a result, signs of such crimes were recognised faster and more frequently.” Analysis of the annual figures also shows a substantial increase in cybercrime. The number of reports about phishing and scamming increased from 141 to 900.
Violent crimesThere was also a noticeable increase in the number of reports regarding violent crimes offering perpetrator information, from 1,577 to 2,346 (+48%). In particular, more tips were shared regarding abuse, including domestic violence (879 tips), homicides and manslaughter (397 tips), public violence (376 tips) and destruction (174 tips). Never before has the number of anonymous tips on these topics been this high. Janssen: “These are crimes that have a major impact on society and therefore evoke a lot of public outrage and emotion. Last year, M. saw an increase in tips as a result of investigation reports, for example via social media or via the investigative TV-show Opsporing Verzocht. It is good to see that people want to contribute to solving these kinds of serious cases via M.”
The results were successful: thanks to anonymous tips, police tracked down a man from Zutphen who was subsequently convicted in August for his involvement in a fight in the city centre. A local sustained serious injuries during this fight, including a broken eye socket and nose bone. A man was also arrested in Sneek for serious assault in his hometown. The victim, who was lying defenseless on the ground, was kicked in the head with great force and someone jumped on his head with both feet. After police published footage of the abuse online, M. received several tips. In December, the court sentenced the man to 18 months jail including six months probation, for attempted manslaughter.
3,113 arrests, more than 1,000 weapons removed from the streetsFeedback from police in 2020 shows that at least 3,113 arrests were made partly thanks to tips given to M. Analysis also shows that 464 firearms and 571 stabbing weapons were taken off the streets following anonymous tips. In addition, police reported that at least 218,595 hemp plants were confiscated. The estimated street value of this hemp is around 22 million euros.
ConvictionsDuring this last year, M. once again played a part in the conviction of perpetrators of serious crimes. For example, a 37-year old man was recently sentenced on appeal to five year in prison for a rape in Oudenbosch. A 23-year old man was sentenced to 15 months in prison and community service for a robbery on an electronics store in Amsterdam. Employees were threatened with pepperspray and were forced to hand over their personal belongings.
The court in Amsterdam sentenced a 27-year old man to 45 months in prison for possession of 22 kilos of cocaine, drug trafficking and money laundering. In addition, 150,000 euros in cash were found in his home. In another case, a judge sentenced a 24-year old man from Kampen to two years in prison for a home burglary in Zwolle. During this burglary, violence was used against the resident.
More solved cases can be found on the website https://www.meldmisdaadanoniem.nl/blog/category/nieuws/ .
The regional overviews are available from: Thursday March 4 at 7:00 am.