Police: traditional crime was less common in 2020, cyber crime more

Crime has moved from physical crime to cybercrime since the start of the corona crisis. Police say it saw a decline in crimes like home burglaries, as well as a large increase in online crime.

The police registered at least 127 percent more cybercrime cases in 2020 than in the previous year, according to the annual figures published by the police on Friday. According to the police, corona measures are leading to a shift in crime. For example, the number of home burglaries fell by 23 percent and the number of pickpockets by almost half.

In particular, more cases of fraud via WhatsApp would be discovered, the police told de Volkskrant. In many cases this concerns friend-in-emergency fraud. Both the police and agencies such as the Fraud Helpdesk have been saying for months that the number of reports of this is increasing. The police also say they see an increase in fraud in online sales, for example among people who buy something but do not receive the product.

Traditional crime itself is also moving to an increasing extent to the online world. For example, the police refer to buying ransomware on the internet, but also drug trafficking and burglaries that can be arranged via WhatsApp.

The figures only show the picture of registered crimes. This may give a distorted picture of the rising figures. Citizens have only been able to report cybercrime online since the beginning of last year. This lowers the threshold for making reports, which may be one of the explanations for the increase.