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Common Misdemeanors in Utrecht: A Case Study

NCJ Number
R Hesseling
Date Published
112 pages
This analysis of misdemeanors in Utrecht, The Netherlands, focused on the following crimes: public violence, nuisance (gathering for purposes of vice), disorderly conduct, vandalism and malicious mischief, theft of bicycles or mopeds, theft of articles or parts from automobiles, petty theft from dwellings, pickpocketing, shoplifting, and other petty theft.
About 90 percent of reported crimes are in the group covered. The overall reporting rate is about 28 percent. Nearly all reported misdemeanors are crimes against property, particularly automobiles and bicycles. This finding results partly from the lack of reporting of minor assault and battery. Efforts to correlate crime patterns with neighborhood (ward) characteristics used theory asserting that crime is a function of the number of targets, the number of perpetrators, and the amount of surveillance. Thirty-nine percent of the crime was in the central ward. Adjoining wards tended to be impacted as well. In suburbs, crime correlated well with industrial and recreational concentrations and to some extent with physical isolation and the number of unmarried young persons. Anxiety about being a potential victim correlated with the individual's experience with crime rather than with neighborhood characteristics. In addressing crime and fear of crime, policies should be tailored to individual wards. Figures, tables, appended maps, and 53 references.