Belgium has seen a fall in its crime rate since 2011

“ Crime statistics are fundamental in order to reflect policies applied, but our interpretation of them is no less important. Working without data would mean working blindfold, but we cannot be blinded by data”. These aret he words of the General Commissioner, Marc De Mesmaeker[1]

Belgium’s federal police force published the 2017crime data last July;quantifying both attempted and completed crimes. There were a total of 860,604 incidents corresponding to a crime rate of 76 crimes per 1,000 inhabitants[2].

What do these figures explain?

Belgium has seen a steady drop in crime since 2011. For the 2007-2017 period, until 2012 the total number of crimes surpassed the million mark but from then until until 2017 the number of crimes committed has continually been below this figure.

2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017
1.002.857 1.006.950 1.023.984 1.026.312 1063.271 1.040.233 997.805 977.514 920.490 888.735 860.604

This drop on crime has been qualified as a International Crime Drop[3]. It was initially detected in the United States especially regarding crimes against property and, more specifically, regarding homicide in the city of New York;this trend can also be observed in other Western countries. This is probably the result of the interaction of a range of factors: improvements in police techniques and strategies, the technological development of preventive measures, video surveillance, the cheapening of electronic consumer goods, the ageing population, the penalties applied…[4]

Excel Belgica angles

The top 5 total offences at a national level, in 2017[5]

Of a total of 41 major criminal typologies, the five most frequently committed in descending order are:

2011 2016 2017
Robberies and extorsions 451.716 330.895 313.006
Damage to property 123.759 83.304 80.398
Offences against physical integrity 90.130 79.001 77.859
Drugs 48.143 54.833 55.944
Fraud 39.344 41.900 40.921

Although overall figures indicate a a downward trend, the fact remains that some criminal typologies have show nan upward trens since 2011 and this can be seen in “the top 5 typologies”, more specifically drug-related offences and fraud which in 2017 amounted to total of 4.94 and 3,61cases per 1,000 inhabitants respectively. The report of police crime statistics in Belgium (2000-2017) previously mentioned, specifically dedicates part III, page. 45, to the computer-related crime, category that rises from 26,552 cases in 2011 to 43,800 in 2016 and 44.165 in 2017; meaning an increase of over65%.Among the categories that record a higher number of cases computer-related fraud involving credit and debit cards, Internet scams and cyber harrasment aret he most noteworthy.

For further information the following links can be consulted:

News items connected to the “ Security notes” blog:

“Notable drop in crime in Germany” published11 July 2018

“ The number of homicides plummets to record low figures in the city of New York” published 14 February 2018.

“The number of crimes recorded by the Ertzaintza continues to fall” published 20 November 2017

“Notable drop in crimes against property in Switzerland” published on 24 May 2017

“Reported crime in Spain fell by 1.2% in comparison with 2015” published on 22 March 2017

“Sustained drop in crime in Switzerland” published 15 June 2016


[2]The Belgian population on 1st January 2017 was 11,322,088 inhabitants. Source consulted:

[3]van Dijk, JJM, Tseloni, A, &Farrell, G (Eds.). (2012). The International CrimeDrop: New Directions in Research. Basingstoke: PalgraveMacmillan; Farrell: Five tests for a theory of thecrimedrop. CrimeScience 2013.

[4]àg 29.

[5]Police crime statistics. Belgium 2000-2017. Police fédérale – DGR/DRI/BIPOL. Statistics obtained with the help of Datawarehouse repository(closure date 23 April 2018).


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