According to new figures from Statistics Denmark, there were just 14,903 break-ins reported in the second quarter of 2016. That’s a nine percent decrease from the previous quarter and marks the lowest quarterly number in over 20 years.
“This is the first time since Statistics Denmark began seasonally adjusting reported law violations in 2995 that the number has been below 15,000,” the statistics bureau wrote.
Reported break-ins were as high as 26,000 per quarter as recently as 2009. As of 2014, Denmark was second only to Greece for the most break-ins in Europe and home burglaries have for years been far more frequent in Denmark than in its Scandinavian neighbours.
According to the Danish Crime Prevention Council (Det Kriminalpræventive Råd – DKR), Denmark had 749 reported break-ins for every 100,000 residents in 2013, while there were only 218 in Sweden and 104 in Norway.
A DKR spokesman told The Local that part of the reason Danes are such frequent victims of break-ins is that they simply “aren’t as good as people in other countries at securing their homes with the proper locks and windows or with carrying out neighbourhood watches”.
“Not only are we not as good at securing our homes, we also have a lot of valuables and when it is easy to come in, that increases the benefit for the burglar,” DKR spokeswoman Lone Harlev told us in 2014.
The new figures from Statistics Denmark continue a trend of falling break-in statistics. The 36,628 break-ins reported by Danish homeowners in 2014 was the lowest number since 2007 and a 12.5 percent decrease from 2013 figures.
Those figures then fell an additional ten percent to 32,974 in 2015.
DRK has attributed the decline in part to the increased popularity of the neighbourhood watch programme Nabohjælp, which now has nearly 180,000 registered households.
However, the decline could also be down to a hesitance on the part of homeowners to contact police, given numerous warnings from districts across the nation that officers are stretched so thin that they are not likely “to do anything” about reported break-ins.
“If you call and report a break-in and the perpetrator hasn’t left a direct trace, it will be one of the assignments that we ‘deprioritize’,” Michael Møller, the chairman of the Copenhagen Police Association (Københavns Politiforening), told Berlingske in October.
“We will take the report so that you can get reimbursed from your insurance but in all likelihood the case will end up in the ‘we’re not going to do anything about it’ pile,” he added.
Copenhagen Police also have a policy of only investigating thefts and break-ins when the value of the stolen goods exceeds 100,000 kroner. If the stolen items are below that amount, the police simply register the theft and do nothing more.