Halt provides an immediate response to common juvenile crime through prevention and repressive action, thus ensuring that the Netherlands remains a country in which to live safely and comfortably.
Young people under the age of 18 who commit such offences as theft (e.g. shoplifting), vandalism, graffiti, arson, fireworks nuisance, nuisance in public transport and truancy (as an experiment) can be referred by the police to a Halt programme. Each year over 17.000 juveniles are referred.
The Ministry of Security and Justice finances, and devises a framework for these programmes.
Halt is a play on words in the original Dutch, indicating there is an alternative. Juveniles are given the opportunity to address their wrongdoing and avoid prosecution. As an alternative to this out of court settlement, they have to perform training and apologise and/or pay compensation to their victims.
Halt calls on their parents to accept their personal responsibility and supports them in their role as educators. When there is a suspicion of underlying problems, Halt will refer the case to the appropriate professional youth care service.
As it has built up a lot of expertise in preventing common juvenile crime, Halt carries out preventive actions and gives targeted advice to local authorities, schools and cooperating organisations.
Local authorities supply most of the money for the crime prevention activities.