Crime that undermines society

Organised crime that undermines society is a broad category that includes many different types of crime and related activities. Criminal organisations often make use of legitimate service providers.

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 occur in residential neighbourhoods. The underworld and the ‘upper world’ are becoming entangled, and this undermines and jeopardises 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.

Legitimate services

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

  • Legitimate financial service providers, such as banks, insurers and financial advisers, are used to launder criminal proceeds.
  • Other service providers and technical experts are used to, for example:
    • smuggle drugs and people (port-based container transhipment services);
    • send MDMA (Ecstasy) pills (post and package delivery services);
    • set up cannabis farms (for example, electricians to do the wiring).
  • Real estate owners and landlords are pressurised 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.

Legitimate parties, civil servants and directors are at risk of being subjected to enticement or blackmail. In this way, their norms and values can become blurred, and the authority of mayors and police officers can be undermined. This also diminishes security and liveability in affected neighbourhoods.