Antwerp public prosecutors have attempted to tackle the problem, but have made little headway.
Improved detection methods can help to catch more burglars says Dominique Reyniers of the Antwerp public prosecutors' office: "Prosecution rates are high. We prosecute all the cases that we solve. We hope that in time this will contribute towards a better result."
Itinerant gangs of thieves form a persistent problem. In future years this problem will be given greater priority under the national security plan.
Antwerp prosecutors have made a novel offer to the 300 shoplifters that were caught in the northern port city in recent months. If they accept an amicable settlement immediately, then they will not have to appear in court. In this way the public prosecutor hopes to ease pressure on the courts.
People who stole over 300 euros or employed violence will still have to appear before a magistrate.