Majority Of Dutch Favor Death Penalty

June 18, 1998

A majority of the Dutch population (52%) are now in favour of the death penalty. Most of those in favour are to be found among the young, among those with a low level of education and among people who believe that crime is a major problem. These are the results of a survey of 3000 people aged 15 and over. The study was carried out by the Netherlands Foundation for the Study of Criminality and Law Enforcement (NSCR, part of the NWO research organisation). Previous surveys had shown that only a minority believed in the death penalty. It is possible that this change in Dutch public opinion is a temporary one and that when all the publicity about the Dutroux child-murder case in Belgium has died down, a majority will once more be against the death penalty.

The study shows that many of those in favour of the death penalty think that it should be imposed for murder, incest and child abuse. It also shows that someone who has committed two or more crimes is twice as likely to be the victim of a crime than someone who has not committed a crime. Recidivists are also four times more likely to be involved in a traffic accident, possibly because of their tendency to indulge in risky behaviour. Finally, people who break the law themselves are more likely to be dissatisfied with the police than those who do not.

Further information:
Dr. Marijke ter Voert (NSCR)
T 31-71-527 8503, F 31-71-527 8537
Dr. Karin Wittebrood
T 31-71-527-8518, F 31-71-527-8537
Dr. Peter van Koppen
T 31-71-527-8513

Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research

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