Police are concerned about a growing group of very young street robbers

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The police are increasingly concerned about the growing number of very young street robbers. That writes the Telegraph.

More and more 12 and 13 year olds are suspected of street robbery. The loot is often not much, while the impact on victims is very large.

According to Victim Support Netherlands, at least 770 minors will be robbed in 2022. The actual number is probably much higher, because young people in particular often refrain from reporting the crime. “I think social media and increasing materialism play a role.

The perpetrators also do not see the consequences of their actions,” says Chief of Police Ronald van der Sman in The Hague. The chief of detectives calls on victims to report the crime. According to him, this helps to prevent new robberies.

They were blinking at the Hague criminal investigation department. An 11-year-old boy came into the picture on Tuesday morning as a suspect in a violent street robbery. He appeared to have committed robberies before. “They are boys aged 11, 12 and 13. Two years ago they were still playing marbles, now they are committing violent street robberies.”

Ronald van der Sman, team chief of the Hague district detective, is very concerned about street robberies committed by young teenagers. Rejuvenation and hardening can also be seen in robberies of businesses and homes, stabbing incidents and homicidal crimes. On average, seven to ten street robberies per day have been committed nationally in recent years.

In 2022, 2481 street robberies were reported. Figures from Victim Support Netherlands show that there were 3776 victims in that year. Of these, 770 were minors.

Victim Support sees a rejuvenation among the victims and a low willingness to report. For example, seven out of ten young people do not report to the police or an aid agency after a ‘major event’ that also includes crimes. Fear of revenge and shame play a role in this.

“It is usually two to three boys who rob another boy. This often happens in a violent way. They demand the phone, AirPods or designer clothes. They also take away expensive sneakers,” says Van der Sman. The impact of this, according to the chief of detectives, is immense.

“Many victims are afraid to go outside again and become a victim again. When a robbery takes place at a school, it also happens that the victim no longer dares to go there. And for parents it is a nightmare when a robbed child comes home crying.”

Van der Sman does not know exactly why so many young teenagers are involved in violent robberies. “I think social media and increasing materialism play a role. The perpetrators also do not see what the consequences are. That makes it easier to take the step towards crime.”

The 11-year-old street robbery suspect is said to come from a family in which several problems play a role. Something that, according to Van der Sman, regularly recurs with young offenders. He points to the role of the parents.

“If, as an 11-year-old, you don’t come home until twelve o’clock every evening and the parents allow this, that is of course no guarantee that nothing will happen on the street. Because at such a young age, what else are you supposed to do outside around that time?”

In The Hague-South, Van der Sman’s team experiences a lot of violence. In January, a boy just 13 years old was arrested for a near-fatal stabbing. According to the police officer, the violence may have to do with the low income in these neighborhoods.

“The young boys see beautiful, expensive things with peers that they do not have themselves. They want to get it in some way. Unfortunately, this almost never happens without violence. Unfortunately, it has become almost self-evident that 12-year-old boys carry a knife.”

Van der Sman emphasizes the importance of reporting a street robbery. “Because we get a grip on the perpetrators, we can prevent any subsequent robberies.”

Children under the age of 12 cannot be prosecuted under criminal law. The police can simply ‘act’, such as arresting and interrogating. A care report is always made for ’12-minners’ who commit a crime.

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