According to their statistics, the number has never been so high. With 2 808 car burned in the first nine months, 2017 was a record breaking year, with 90 more arson cases than in 2016 and 398 more than in 2015.
With 2 808 incidents in the first nine months of last year, 312 cars were burned per month: That’s more than 10 per day.
— Klaas Wilting (@wiltingklaas) December 31, 2017
According to a spokesman of the Union, most torched cars are intentionally lit. On average, it costs 10 000 euros per car and in total tens of millions of euros per year.
Once again, Utrecht was plagued by a series of burning cars leading into the New Year. At least ten cars went up in flames at various places in the city. Most cars were reduced to ashes and considered lost. Around the turn of the year, the number of car burnt in the city is often higher than normal, but according to a spokesperson for the fire department this year is about “extreme numbers”.
The fires occurred in the Kanaleneiland, Overvecht, Zuilen, Hoograven and Lunetten districts.
Since Christmas Day, around thirty cars have gone up in flames in Utrecht. The authorities believe that groups of “youths” from a migrant background are responsible for the fires. The police are investigating the series of vehicle fires, but nobody has been arrested yet.
Also in other places too, cars burned going into 2018. Regional media reported torched cars in Amsterdam, Zaandam, Purmerend, Herwijnen, Tilburg, Leeuwarden, Driebergen and the Brabant village of Veen.
In North Brabant, according to the insurance statistics, most cars were lit up. Incidentally, arson is not always the cause. Technical defects can also lead to fire.
The first three quarters of 2017 recorded 506 cases in the province, 28 more than in the same period last year. The provinces of South and North Holland are in second and third place with 463 (8 more than in 2016) and 394 (59 more than last year).
In other provinces, the number of torched cars also increased, with the exception of Limburg, Overijssel, Utrecht, Groningen and Zeeland. There the number of cases slightly decreased.
In 2017, the Association recorded the highest number in five years. Rudi Buis, spokesman for the Dutch Association of Insurers said: “This rising trend worries us, mainly because we only see the fires of cars that are hull-insured [a limited insurance].
“Vehicles with a third-party liability insurance that are burned, are not included in the data. Additionally, the increase in the number of torched cars is much greater.”
Still, it is too early to sound an alarm, says Buis. “We only do that when the trend persists. For that we have to wait for the figures for the coming years,” he said.
Often it is about copycat behaviour. “With an estimated amount of damage of around 10,000 euros per burned-out vehicle on average, the cost to insurers amounts to tens of million euros per year.”
RTL reported that one family has lost 5 cars already in the space of a few short months. The first time their car was set on fire was in September 2016. In the months that followed, three cars went up in flames and in May 2017 Geert Cornelissen saw his latest car in flames. “I thought: oh no, not again.”
“We are becoming despondent,” Cornelissen told RTL Nieuws. He lives with his wife and four children in Geldrop.
“You see that one of the arsonists comes to inspect the car first and only later he comes back to set the car on fire.”