Promoting crime prevention pays

Encouraging individuals and businesses to take preventive measures significantly reduces various types of crime, including robbery, transport crime and violence in the semi-public domain. This was the conclusion of the Prevention Measures Policy Review that Minister of Security and Justice Ivo Opstelten recently sent to the House of Representatives.

The policy review identified how prevention policy has helped make the Netherlands safer since 2005. Government action aimed at encouraging individuals and companies to take appropriate preventive measures pays off. The Safe Businesses Warranty (Keurmerk Veilig Ondernemen) gives businesses an extra incentive to implement crime prevention measures, such as camera surveillance, counter caches and increased use of electronic means of payment so there is less cash in the registers.

Central government integrity policy is aimed at preventing recidivism and the (further) spread of criminal behaviour in vulnerable sectors, companies and organisations. Approximately 250,000 applications for certificates of good conduct were submitted in 2005, over 560,000 in 2012 and the number continues to grow. Every year, a few thousand applications are denied because the Integrity and Screening Agency (Justis) considers the risk too high to allow the applicant to work in the job concerned.

Prevention measures reduce crime but cannot eliminate it altogether, so investigation and prosecution of perpetrators remain necessary instruments. It is also important to provide victims with assistance aimed at helping them obtain justice and avoid falling victim to crime again. According to the policy review, in recent years tremendous efforts have been made to develop and implement a comprehensive approach that combines preventive and reactive measures with victim assistance. An example of this is the action plan aimed at reducing robbery, in which the police, the Public Prosecution Service, local government and the business community worked with the Ministry of Security and Justice to implement a package of complementary measures. The implementation of preventive measures combined with the targeted deployment of police officers and public prosecutors led to a 30% reduction in the number of robberies between 2009 and 2012.