Murder numbers: Rotterdam is leading but is far from being ‘a dangerous city’

In 2022, in the Netherlands, 142 people lost their lives due to murder or manslaughter, which is 16 more than in 2021. The number of female victims increased by 10 (from 38 to 48), while the number of male victims rose by 6 (from 88 to 94). Most of the victims were in Rotterdam. In 6 out of 10 cases where women were murdered in the past five years, the presumed perpetrator was a (former) partner. These findings come from new data released by the CBS (Statistics Netherlands).

In 2003, the number of victims was significantly higher at 247. Afterward, the number gradually decreased until 2016, especially among men. After a peak in 2017, the number of murder or manslaughter victims remained stable between 2018 and 2021, averaging 123 per year. In 2022, the number of victims increased to 142.

More young men and female individuals aged 60 and above were killed. Particularly, the number of male victims between the ages of 20 and 40 increased from 30 in 2021 to 40 in 2022. Men aged 40 and older were less frequently victims. Among female victims, it was mainly those aged 60 and above who were more often victims, with 7 in 2021 and 13 in 2022.

Women were often killed by (former) partners. From 2018 to 2022, the police had a (presumed) perpetrator identified in 99 percent of all female victim cases. In this period, 6 out of 10 women were killed by their partner or ex-partner. Among women aged 20 to 60, this figure rose to three-quarters. 1 in 5 women were killed by a family member. Female victims were often killed in their own homes with a stabbing weapon or by strangulation.

In cases involving male victims in the same period, 85 percent had a (presumed) perpetrator identified. In 3 out of 10 cases, the perpetrator was an acquaintance of the victim. In over 1 out of 7 cases, it was related to criminal activities. Three-quarters of male victims were killed with a firearm or stabbing weapon.

Young victims were primarily killed by parents. From 2018 to 2022, 32 children under the age of ten were killed: 17 boys and 15 girls. Almost all of these children (88 percent) were killed by their father or mother. During the same period, 41 children and young adults aged 10 to 20 were murdered.

The majority of murders occurred in municipalities with more than 100 thousand residents. In 2022, Rotterdam had the highest number of murder or manslaughter victims with 16, followed by Amsterdam with 10. It’s the first time since 2008 that Rotterdam had more murders than Amsterdam. In 2022, Rotterdam had 1 more victim than in 2021, while Amsterdam had 5 fewer victims. The number of murder or manslaughter victims in The Hague decreased from 11 in 2021 to 3 in 2022.

Internationally, the Netherlands has a relatively low number of murders or manslaughters. In 2021, countries like Slovenia, Ireland, Iceland, and the Czech Republic had the fewest victims per 100 thousand residents in Europe. In former Soviet Union countries like Russia, Ukraine, Latvia, Moldova, and Lithuania, the number of victims in 2021 was relatively higher.

Jamaica had the highest number of murders worldwide in 2021, with 53 per 100 thousand residents, which is 80 times higher than in the Netherlands. South Africa, Honduras, Saint Lucia, and Mexico also have relatively high murder rates. In the United States, the number of murders was 10 times higher than in the Netherlands.

The author: Michel DEURINCK

Michel Deurinck, born in Brussels in 1950, started his career in the Belgian civil service, dedicating over 30 years to public service. Upon retirement, he pursued his passion for journalism. Transitioning into this new field, he quickly gained recognition for his insightful reporting on politics and culture. Deurinck's balanced and thoughtful approach to journalism has made him a respected figure in Belgian media.

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