More 'invisible' crime in Amsterdam

Dutch police at a crime scene (Stock Photo: Politie). (Dutch police at a crime scene (Stock Photo: Politie))

The Amsterdam mayor, police and Public Prosecutor are concerned about a seeming shift towards more invisible forms of crime in the Dutch the capital, they said in a report on Monday. With "invisible" crimes they refer to actions that are criminal in nature, but are socially embedded in neighborhoods and often out of the control and sight of the government, ANP reports.

A large proportion of this invisible crime has to do with conflicts in the drug world, according to the Amsterdam triangle. These crimes lead to arms trade, money laundering and assassinations.

An important part of tackling these types of crimes, is confiscating criminally gained assets. In 2017 the Public Prosecutor seized over 22 million euros in assets believed to be criminally obtained. According to chief prosecutor Theo Hofstee, al large part of money made from, for example, drug trafficking, is invested in real estate. 

Amsterdam police chief Pieter-Jaap Aalbersberg repeated his concerns about changes in perpetrators, especially when it comes to assassinations. In the past, professional hitmen were hired from abroad for amounts of 50,000 to 60,0000  euros. The current group of perpetrators are often young amateurs, with low-education and little prospects who are willing to kill someone for as little as 3 thousand euros. 

The number of murders, manslaughters and assassinations, decreased in Amsterdam last year. In 2017 a total of 17 people were killed by violence, compared to 23 in 2016. The authorities consider three of last year's murders to be gang related assassinations, compared to six the year before. The mayor, police and prosecutor point out that this does not mean that the unrest in the Amsterdam underworld is calming down. The number of attempted and successful assassinations at the start of this year show that it hasn't, they said. 

The triangle did not specifically name the incidents referred to, but so far there were two fatal shootings in the Dutch capital this year. On January 17th known criminal Anass el Ajjouid was gunned down on Cornelis Springerstraat. And on January 26th 17-year-old Mohammed Bouchikhi was shot and killed at a community center on Grote Wittenburgerstraat where he worked as an intern. It is believed that he was not the intended target. 

Hofstee pointed out that solving this type of heavily organized crimes requires a lot of time and effort. 

The number of registered crimes in Amsterdam decreased by 5 percent last year to a record low of 93,020. The number of reports regarding pickpockets, muggings, violence and threats decreased considerably. The number of home burglaries, on the other hand, increased by 7 percent and the number of robberies increased by 9 percent.