Amsterdam to focus more on drug crimes in approach to young repeat offenders

The Amsterdam municipality, police and prosecutor are expanding the city's Top 600 list - used to curb young criminals - to include drug criminals and perpetrators of excessive violence. The impact of drug trafficking on public life is increasing in Amsterdam neighborhoods, said Mayor Femke Halsema, NOS reports.

Drug criminals are currently not included in the Top 600 list due to criteria established in the past, Halsema said. The focus was mainly on high impact crimes like muggings and burglaries. "That's because those crimes are the most obvious thing for citizens", the mayor said. "But because we think that drug crimes will have a major impact on our city in the long term, we will include the perpetrators in the Top 600."

Halsema hopes that by changing the city's approach in this way, drug criminals will be more quickly arrested, so that the young people around them can not be "contaminated". 

Amsterdam police commissioner Jan Pronker notes that drug trafficking has a strong appeal to certain young people. "The people involved in street trade are getting younger and younger. It has become a good business model", he said. 

Amsterdam started its Top 600 list in 2012. The list consists of repeat offenders who were arrested for a high impact crime in the previous five years and who have been convicted for crimes multiple times. More than 40 agencies work together to get the criminals on this list back on the right path. 

In January this year the Top 600 list did not contain 600 repeat offenders, but only 469. Only two of them are women. Amsterdam Oost is overrepresented, with 109 of the district's inhabitants appearing on the list. Amsterdam Nieuw-West and Amsterdam Zuidoost came in second and third place, with 61 and 56 inhabitants on the list respectively.

The number of registered crimes in Amsterdam decreased again last year, in line with the national figures. Last year the Amsterdam police registered 88,332 crimes, compared to over 102 thousand in 2015. 


Related stories