Car Fire Prevention in Utrecht
Illustrations by Madelyn Capozzi.
In the weeks leading up to New Years Eve and the night itself, there are around 50 car fires in Utrecht. If you add the additional 90 car fires happening in other months, you get an astonishing 140 cars that are set on fire in one year.
The municipality is under pressure from the media to solve this issue quickly, and the mayor is frequently asked about it. A taskforce was established consisting of people from the police, the municipality, department security, youth workers from JOU, the OM, and the VRU.
A Symptom of a Social Problem
The police reports showed that the perpetrators are aged between 13 – 20 years old. This is relatively low compared to other crimes. Apparently, the bar to light cars on fires is low enough for these youngsters. Because it is very easy, and the chances of getting caught are very low.
The issue of vandalistic car fires is extremely complex, with deep sociological roots that make it difficult to address. Although complex social problems can only be solved over a longer period of time, the severity of the symptoms pressure the authorities to such extent, that they want to find a solution now. The choice to focus on developing an understanding of these sociological roots of the problem made coming up with a short-term solution nearly impossible.
With all this content a persona was created, showing the life of a third culture kid in one of the neighborhoods. The culture in which his roots are, strongly influences his life. On the street and at school, there is a different culture in which he does not fit into. This results in feeling like an outsider in the Dutch culture but also in his own.
Creating solutions for such a sensitive topic can be tricky. We have created this tool to assist readers in seeing the bigger picture around vandalistic car fires. As awareness is the first step in solving deeply rooted social problems.