20 municipalities receive additional support in the approach to youth crime

For the next 3 years, dozens of additional millions of euros have been reserved to further reduce youth crime in the districts of 20 municipalities. Structural funds are already available for the targeted approach in 27 municipalities with districts where the liveability is under pressure and there is considerable risk that children, young persons and young adults end up in a life of crime. 

However, youth crime does not end at the boundaries of (major) urban areas. That is why 20 additional municipalities have been requested to formulate an action plan for urgent and relatively serious problems they encounter with young persons involved in crime. It concerns: Almelo, Bergen op Zoom, Brunssum, Den Helder, Diemen, Gouda, Haarlem, Hoorn, Kerkrade, Leiden, Middelburg, Nissewaard, Oosterhout, Rijswijk, Roermond, Venray, Vlissingen, Zoetermeer, Zutphen and Zwolle.

This is what is being written today to the House of Representatives by Minister of Justice and Security Yeşilgöz-Zegerius and Minister for Legal Protection Weerwind. The Ministers are jointly investing in the broad approach called Prevention with Authority in order to prevent children, young persons and young adults aged 8 up to and including 27 from ending up in a life of crime or slipping further into such a life.

Despite the fact that over the past 20 years the Netherlands has experienced a decrease in youth crime on average, there are major differences throughout the country and worrisome developments have been identified in districts where young persons commit serious offences involving weapons, drugs and violence. That is why the focus is being intensified in those areas where it is needed most. Municipalities are doing this in cooperation with all partners involved in the direct living environment of young persons: from the police, the Public Prosecution Service (OM), the Judiciary, the Child Care and Protection Board, the Probation Service, Stichting Halt, Care and Safety Houses to teachers at schools, those involved in youth work and youth care, local entrepreneurs and employers.

Learning approach

To make a difference in the 20 municipalities, it is also important to gain a sound understanding of the specific problems and of the target group, and be able to take targeted action with promising and proven effective interventions. For this purpose, they can use the experience already gained by the 27 municipalities and adopt the learning approach of Prevention with Authority. The 20 municipalities were requested to present their plans this spring. Based on these plans, municipalities can receive € 500,000 per year for a period of 3 years. It is expected that the municipalities will be able to start implementing their plans even before the summer begins.

The approach requires persistence in order to prevent young persons from ending up involved in crime and from slipping further in that direction. Interim adjustments will be made based on new insights and developments. This will take place on the basis of a monitoring and evaluating cycle in which the 20 new municipalities will be involved as well. This cycle monitors both the progress of the activities and the problems in the participating municipalities. A crime problem monitor is being developed for this purpose together with Statistics Netherlands (CBS). The first publication of this monitor appeared at the start of this year concerning the 27 municipalities who are now in the implementation phase of Prevention with Authority (Survey Prevention with Authority Monitor published by Statistics Netherlands). This monitor will be expanded later this year.

In addition, the Research and Documentation Centre (WODC) conducts regular research into the development of youth crime and the municipalities and parties involved exchange their experiences with the approach. For example, a meeting was held today in Arnhem involving approximately 300 participants from the field to discuss what is effective in preventing young persons from ending up in and slipping further into a life of crime. Professionals from the 20 new municipalities were also present at this meeting.