Crime that undermines society

Criminals who use legitimate businesses and services for their illegal activities have an undermining effect on society. For example, they may rent premises to use as drug labs. The government wants to make the Netherlands a less attractive place for this kind of crime.

Criminal underworld increasingly intertwined with legitimate parties

Criminals have no qualms about extorting or exerting influence on legitimate actors, such as elected officials, civil servants and ordinary people. Sometimes they use extreme violence, and occasionally gangland killings and explosions occur in residential neighbourhoods. The underworld and the ‘upper world’ are becoming entangled, and this undermines and endangers society and the rule of law.

Central government wants to ensure that criminals cannot gain the upper hand. Legitimate service providers and political officials must be able to do their work free of threats and intimidation. The safety and liveability of our neighbourhoods must be protected. And criminals must be prevented from enticing business owners to work for them. In order to tackle this challenge, central government is trying to gain a deeper understanding of crime that undermines society. 

The government is committed to making the Netherlands less hospitable to organised crime and has made tackling it a priority. 

Examples of legitimate services used by criminals

Criminals make use of legitimate services to conduct illicit activities. For example:

  • banks, insurers and financial advisers are used to launder criminal proceeds;
  • port-based container transhipment services are used to smuggle drugs and smuggle people
  • post and package delivery services are used to send ecstasy (MDMA) pills; 
  • electricians are asked to do the wiring for cannabis farms;
  • homeowners and landlords are pressured to allow their premises to be used for activities such as selling drugs or weapons;
  • houses at holiday parks are used for illegal prostitution or selling drugs, for example.

Consequences of crime that undermines society

Crime that undermines society can lead to:

  • residential neighbourhoods being made unsafe by drug labs and cannabis farms, which are prone to fires;
  • corruption among civil servants, police officers and the business community, as a consequence of bribery or extortion;
  • young people being recruited as drug couriers;
  • drugs being sold at festivals and events;
  • drug waste being dumped in natural areas; 
  • farmers being pressured to allow their barns to be used for drugs production; 
  • revenge killings in the criminal underworld taking place in broad daylight in public places.

That is why the government is taking measures to combat this kind of crime.