Top-3 threats to safety in neighbourhoods: drugs, opiates and narcotics

  • 15 November, 2017
  • Amsterdam Security
  • Convention Public safety

The large-scale and extremely professionally organised trade in drugs is the greatest threat to safety in Dutch neighbourhoods. That is the unambiguous opinion of police researcher and criminologist Edward van der Torre. Van der Torre made this claim during the Safety in the Neighbourhood conference (Veiligheid in de Wijk congres) e organised by the Study Centre for Business and Government (SBO) which was held during the Amsterdam Security Convention in RAI Amsterdam on Thursday 2 November.

"The years of focusing on 'more officers on the beat' has had a detrimental effect on detective work", Van der Torre explained during his lecture. "For years now criminal organisations have felt untouchable and are becoming more and more intertwined with the upperworld. And that is not just the case in Brabant. Crime pays and is enticing in the Netherlands. We are extremely good in creating opportunities, but not in increasing arrest rates."

According to the criminologist and lecturer at the Police Academy, local police officers are hugely frustrated that they can do so little to combat organised drugs crime which can destabilise whole districts. "They therefore need help from municipal officials. After all, city hall is a good place to start looking for criminals. In fact, they need the municipality for permits and other things like that. Applications to set up pizzerias, tanning salons and call shops should be scrutinised much more securely. In almost all cases they are money-laundering constructions."

The speaker after Van der Torre was Sybren van der Velden who is the Burglaries project leader on the High Impact Crimes project team run by the National Police Force. He demonstrated how the police are being successful in many areas, with the number of burglaries, robberies and ram raids having been declining for years now. Van der Torre confirmed the figures. "However, it has detracted attention from the truly undermining problem of organised drug trafficking, which is rampant."

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