Safety of student complexes

ASVA has been drawing attention to the safety situation at student complexes since 2016. In that year, this subject came into the public eye because of a number of incidents near the Wenckebachweg. Since then it has become clear that there are complexes throughout the city where students do not feel safe and do not dare to walk the streets alone at night.

In 2019, ASVA again called attention to this issue, this time in response to a number of serious incidents at the Spinoza campus and the NDSM wharf. The municipality and housing corporations are now aware that this is a serious problem. ASVA is now committed to keeping this issue on the agenda and working towards sustainable solutions.

One way we are doing this is through the Report Centre for Unsafe Housing. Here, you can anonymously report unsafe situations or incidents in and around your student accommodation. We then discuss the report with the landlord and/or educational institutions to see how we can improve the situation and support those involved.

What causes this problem?

In recent years, many new student complexes have been built in Amsterdam. Because the city centre is already very full and land prices are expensive, student accommodation is often built on the outskirts of the city, for example in North, Southeast or New-West. This ensures that we can keep student housing affordable.

Students are also often seen as ‘pioneers’: a group that makes relatively few demands on their accommodation and brings with it a lot of liveliness. That is why student complexes often appear in areas that are still being developed. The students are content to live here and, in the best case, they bring the activity and sociability that can stimulate the development of the area.

The problem, however, is that if that development does not take place, there will be many students living in an area where there are often few people on the street in the evening because people do not do much more than live there. Especially if this area is located on the outskirts of the city, has poor lighting, or is difficult to reach by public transport, this can lead to unsafe situations.

What does ASVA want to do about this?

There are a number of things we can do to reduce this problem. In the case of existing complexes, we want to ensure that adjustments are made to the surroundings that increase safety, such as improving the lighting and doors, and possibly adding camera surveillance.

It is also important to create a stronger sense of community at the complex, for example by adding sports or study facilities on or around the campus. This will generate more activity in the area and facilitate meetings between the residents, thus creating more social control.

In the case of new complexes, the design phase is already giving better consideration to how to guarantee the safety of the residents. The main point of attention here is to ensure that the development of the area around the campus does not lag behind, so that the campus does not become isolated. In addition, we also want to encourage community building and the addition of facilities on new campuses.

Do you want to report a crime?

Have you been the victim of a crime? If so, it is important to report it. But we understand that the threshold for doing so is high if you do not know exactly how to report a crime. To help you with this, ASVA has prepared a manual It contains a step-by-step plan to make it easier for you to report the crime.