Forms of crime

Crime can involve violence, sex or drugs but also discrimination, road rage, undeclared work and burglary. Crime is any behaviour and any act, activity or event that is punishable by law.

Examples of crime:

Cybercrime

Anyone using the internet can be a victim of cyber crime. Examples include identity theft and child pornography. One way the government is combating this crime is through the Cyber Crime Reporting Website.

Youth crime

To increase public safety, the government is combating youth crime and antisocial behaviour by young people through swift intervention, rapid sentencing and appropriate aftercare.

Human smuggling and human trafficking

The government has taken a number of measures to combat human trafficking, including a higher maximum prison sentence for perpetrators. The government is drafting a new Act to combat forced sex and exploitation in prostitution. The House of Representatives has still to pass the Act.

Illegal posession of firearms

Substantial fines and prison sentences may be imposed for the illegal possession of firearms and illegal trade in firearms. Possession and sale of stilettos, flick knives and butterfly knives are also prohibited.

Cannabis cultivation

Cannabis cultivation is prohibited in the Netherlands. Cannabis growers often have ties with organised crime. Cultivation is a source of nuisance and a risk to neighbours. There is a risk, for example, of fire and antisocial behaviour by criminals visiting the premises.

The government will take action against people who supply equipment to grow cannabis. An Act prohibiting organised cannabis cultivation is being drafted. It will increase the powers of the police and the Public Prosecution Service to nip cannabis cultivation in the bud.

Fraud

Fraud includes benefit fraud, tax fraud and money laundering from criminal activities. The government will fight fraud by:

  • confiscating laundered money and criminal assets: every year, the authorities seize tens of millions of euros and luxury goods such as boats and cars from criminals;
  • creating more capacity for financial investigations by the Fiscal Information and Investigation Service-Economic Investigation Service (FIOD-ECD);
  • paying more attention to financial investigations in basic police training.

Real estate

Organised criminals often buy expensive properties with the proceeds of crime. Through its national real estate steering group, the government can use property as a basis for uncovering and dismantling criminal practices. The government is studying ways to identify and combat property crime more effectively.

Benefit fraud

Personal circumstances determine the level of certain benefits. Recipients must therefore report changes in their circumstances and family income so that they do not receive benefits they are not entitled to. By carrying out more inspections (e.g. home visits), the government will reduce the number of undue benefit payments.

Evasion of social insurance payments

Employers must withhold social insurance contributions from their employees’ salaries and remit them to the authorities. But they do not always do so, especially if the employees are illegal. The employees are then not insured against unemployment or accidents at work. To prevent the social insurance system being exploited, the government will act firmly against businesses that do not remit social insurance contributions. They must pay the contributions and will be fined.

Illegal workers

Non-Dutch nationals who work without a permit (illegal workers) are cheaper than Dutch workers. The employment of illegal workers in preference to Dutch workers distorts competition.

Illegal workers are usually subject to low pay and poor working conditions. Furthermore, employers do not respect collective labour agreements and do not pay tax and social insurance contributions. Medical expenses are therefore not reimbursed following an accident at work. The Labour Inspectorate regularly checks whether employers have valid work permits for all foreign employees who are not free to work in the Netherlands. Companies with illegal workers risk a fine of €8,000 per worker and private individuals a fine of €4,000 per worker.

Undeclared workers

About 75% of the 1.2 million households in the Netherlands that have a cleaner do not declare payments for domestic help. Neither employer nor employee pays tax or social insurance contributions on pay. Many undeclared workers also work in the building industry (builders, handymen), horticulture, bars, restaurants and childminding (babysitters). If the Labour Inspectorate suspects that workers are undeclared it alerts the Social Security Information and Investigation Service (SIOD). The undeclared worker and the employer must then pay the taxes and social insurance contributions due. They also risk a fine.

Bicycle theft

220,000 fewer bicycles were stolen in 2009 than in 2006. This success is due to measures taken against bicycle theft, such as placing chips in every new bicycle and registering every new bicycle in the bicycle register.

Crime at travellers' sites

Municipalities, the police and the Tax and Customs Administration take joint action against crime at travellers’ sites. If they raid a site, they check for benefit fraud, tax evasion and crime (such as large-scale cannabis cultivation and illegal car breaking). On the other hand, the government wants the police to have a better understanding of the culture of the Roma and Sinti who often live on such sites.

Theft

The government will combat theft through:

  • the Safe Homes Warranty
  • preventing robberies
  • the Safe Business Warranty

The website of the Research and Documentation Centre includes a list of all offences.