Mayors: Netherlands only seizes 1 percent of criminal earnings

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The government should be more aggressive in seizing criminals' earnings. At this stage the Netherlands is only seizing about 1 percent of the estimated 9.3 billion euros earned every year through drug trafficking, arms trafficking and human trafficking.

This is according to 12 Dutch mayors and the head of the Public Prosecutor in an opinion piece in the Volkskrant on Friday. They are asking the government for 50 million euros to set up regional teams for a solid approach in seizing money derived from crime. In the fight against organized crime they want to "hit them even harder in their motive: the financial and material gain", they write.

"Organized crime is about money. Those criminals you hit the hardest when you take away their money", according to Tilburg mayor Peter Noordanus. He believes that this would discourage criminals to assume that they can quietly serve there sentence in jail and then lead a life of luxury with their criminally amassed money.

He points to the Brabant task force against organized crime, which he thinks other municipalities could use as an example. In this task force the police, the Public Prosecutor, the municipality and tax authorities work closely together Two million euros was invested in this team with the goal of seizing 6 million euros of criminal money. "We finally seized 21.8 million euro from the criminals, from 2012 to 2014." Nordanus said in the newspaper. "What we do seems simple and is simple. We all win with this approach. The money comes back over and over again."

The mayors of the six largest Dutch cities, their six colleagues and the Public Prosecutor are advocating for an integrated approach, with all institutions working more closely together. So, they believe, you can hit criminals where it hurts most - their wallets.

This call is being made by Tilburg Mayor Peter Noordanus, The Hague Mayor Jozias van Aartsen, Nijmegen Mayor Hubert Bruls, Rotterdam Mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb, Groningen Mayor Peter den Oudsten, Haarlem Mayor Bernt Schneiders, Utrecht Mayor Jan van Zanen, Eindhoven Mayor Rob van Gijzel, Maastricht Mayor Annemarie Penn-te Strake, Amsterdam Mayor Eberhard van der Laan, Dronten Mayor Aat de Jonge, Leeuwarden Mayor Ferd Crone and Chief Prosecutor Herman Bolhaar.