Crime up at the country’s airports

In 2018 the number of cases human trafficking at Belgian airports was double what it was in 2017. Last year there were 71 cases, compared with 37 in 2017 and 11 in 2016. Meanwhile, police at Brussels Airport in Zaventem (Flemish Brabant) report a general increase in crime there in 2018 compared with 2017.    

The Interior Minister in Belgium’s caretaker federal government Pieter De Crem (Flemish Christian democrat) says that the increase in the crime figures is in part due to the procedures for the screening of passengers that came into force in April of last year. The measures were introduced to help in the fight against terrorism.

The lion’s share of the crimes reported at our airports occurred at Brussels Airport. This is not surprising as the airport at Zaventem is by far the busiest airport in the country.  

In 2018 there were an average of two thefts each day at Brussels airport (704 during the year as whole). These included cases of pickpocketing and thefts from vehicles. There were also 121 cases of public order offences and 70 cases of vandalism at Zaventem during 2018.

The police have no clear explanation as to why crime increased at Brussel Airport in 2018. The police spokeswoman Sarah Frederickx told the daily ‘De Tijd’ that “There are a number of factors that could haved played a role: the number of passengers, flights, police numbers, the willingness to report offences, strikes by airport staff…”  

Since 1 December 2018 58 extra officers from the Federal Police have been deployed at the airport. The Halle-Vilvoorde Public Prosecutor Ina Van Wymersch said earlier this year that the airport at Zaventem is one of her priorities. She wants the police and other agencies present at the airport such as the customs to collaborate more closely.