Car fires have been increasing in the Netherlands over the past year, but especially in The Hague. Dutch insurers call this dangerous trend “worrying”.
Overall, car fires in the Netherlands have increased by 12%, but in The Hague by 31% according to the Dutch Association of Insurers. The suburb of Rijswijk had 70% more car fires than the year before, and Voorburg had almost double.
In some cases, the fires have spread to surrounding cars and injured passengers, and in general the fires cause public distress and disturbance. The association advises people to park their cars in a visible area or near street lamps. Neighborhood Whatsapp groups and CCTV cameras can also be helpful for watching suspicious behavior.
The association believes most of the car fires are intentionally lit for three main reasons. Firstly, and most concerning, criminals covering their tracks. “There are also people who set their car on fire in order to earn insurance money,” said a spokesperson. “And then of course you still have vandalism.”
In The Hague, the fires seem to be predominantly lit as vandalism. At the end of last year, youth rioters ditched their bonfires and turned to lighting cars instead. Three youths were arrested for the fires but were released due to a lack of evidence.
Although the increase in fires certainly won’t lower insurance premiums, the association clarified that this should not increase premiums either. Regardless, the social impact is worrying.
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