Growing Number of Children Carrying Knives for Protection in The Netherlands
Dutch kids as young as 13 years olds found to carry a knife
Children from a local neighborhood in Rotterdam, The Netherlands are carrying knives in an effort to protect themselves from kids from other neighborhoods in the city, according to reports.
Local authorities in Rotterdam have continuously had problems with children, ranging from 13 to 16 years old, carrying knives.
Kids are taking weapons with them to school and brandishing them on the street, Dutch daily newspaper Het Parool reports.
Incidents like stabbings have been more common in the area of Rotterdam, Amsterdam, and other cities.
Schools, especially those with a higher count of students with diverse cultural backgrounds, have been seeing a significant increase in the carrying of different types of knives and dangerous items to school.
“Within the period of puberty a child is always testing the boundaries of his environment, the parents are responsible for creating those boundaries,” Rotterdam's Mayor Schuurmans-Wijdeven van Haarlemmermeer said.
To combat this problem, Mayor Schuurmans-Wijdeven van Haarlemmermeer has created a new law that can charge parents of the kids for having knives with them for a second time up to 2500 euros.
Further talks between schools and parents are held to address the growing problem.
Despite the troubling problem, police say a lack of staff is making crime more difficult to tackle in Amsterdam, Dutch news outlet Parool reports.
Knife crime, and other new trends such as cybercrime, demand innovative measures.
But police and the justice department are struggling with a lack of staff, Amsterdam's Mayor Femke Halsema said during the annual press conference on behalf of the prosecution office, the mayor’s office and police.
Police in the Amsterdam region registered a total 88,403 crimes in 2019, ranging from bike and motorbike theft (12,100 instances) to violent crime (7,629).
The figures are no longer falling although they are still significantly lower than in previous decades.
The mayor said early intervention is crucial if authorities want to prevent the rise of violent drug gangs.
Knife crime in the capital is worrying and rising trend, the mayor said.
No figures are available for the number of youths armed with knives or other weapons in Amsterdam, however.
The city has issued knife bans in parts of Amsterdam Oost, Zuidoost and the center, and police are helping schools check pupils’ lockers, as well as developing more targeted search strategies, the paper said.
"It’s as if there is an arms race going on and the anecdotal evidence is shocking," Halsema said.
She said the work of the police is made more difficult because of a culture of "no snitching" among youngsters.
Staffing problems are also made worse because of the number of demonstrations that have to be policed.
There were 1446 demonstrations in the capital in 2019, compared with just 240 in 2014.