Netherlands: One in Five North African Asylum Seekers Suspected of Crimes

Dutch policemen holding machine guns stand guard near the Scheepsvaartmuseum (Maritime Museum) in Amsterdam, on January 26, 2016, during an informal meeting of the EU-ministers of Interior and Justice. / AFP / ANP / Remko de Waal / Netherlands OUT (Photo credit should read REMKO DE WAAL/AFP/Getty Images)

One in five North African asylum seekers in the Netherlands have been suspected of crimes in the past one and a half years, according to figures released this week.

The data, released by the Dutch National Police, reveals that since the start of 2017 3,888 asylum seekers from the Maghreb have been suspected of being involved in 5,076 incidents reported to the police, De Telegraaf reports.

Since the height of the migrant crisis in 2015, the Netherlands has taken in just over 80,000 asylum seekers, but North Africans have proven to be the group most prone to crime, according to the police.

While the majority of migrants in 2015 were Syrians, the years following have seen a steady stream of asylum seekers from the Maghreb, with many claiming to be from Libya — though some, like Mayor of Weert Jos Heijmans, believe many are actually from neighbouring countries.

The new crime statistics paint a much different picture than the year before, when Georgians and Albanians were more prevalent among criminal suspects.

The new figures also, for the first time, compare the crime rates of those with refugee status, and found that Eritrean refugees had a criminal suspect rate of one in eight, while for Syrians the number was much lower.

The numbers reflect a growing trend across European countries where often overall crime has gone down, but the share of crime committed by foreign nationals, migrants, and asylum seekers has risen.

In Italy, recent figures revealed that as many as one in three criminal suspects comes from a migration background, while in major German cities like Berlin foreigners made up nearly half of the suspects in criminal cases.

In some cities, like the Austrian capital of Vienna, the number of foreign criminal suspects has actually surpassed the number of local criminals.

Follow Chris Tomlinson on Twitter at @TomlinsonCJ or email at ctomlinson(at)


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