Amsterdam losing fight against organized crime: report

A stiff wind catches the Amsterdam flag flying over Oudebrugsteeg in the city center, 7 March 2019
A stiff wind catches the Amsterdam flag flying over Oudebrugsteeg in the city center, 7 March 2019. (Photo: NL Times)

Amsterdam is losing the fight against organized crime. The authorities know little about the drug economy and -crime, the police are no longer even trying to fight drugs, and the judiciary failed to tackle the real crime structures, De Telegraaf reports based on a study it has in its possession. 

The study was done by professor of public administration Pieter Tops and investigative journalist Jan Tromp on behalf of the municipality of Amsterdam. It will officially be released on Friday, but leaked to the Telegraaf early. The newspaper writes of "devastating and disturbing" conclusions. 

According to the researchers, 75 million euros worth of cocaine is used in Amsterdam every year. Some 30 percent of the nightlife crowds recently used the drug. The 167 coffeeshops in the city have a combined annual turnover of 300 million euros. Behind the scenes, criminal 'bosses' enrich themselves and the struggle between the different bosses result at competitors being shot at or hand grenades left at their businesses. 

A number of new shops and restaurants in the city are used to funnel drugs money abroad, where it can be laundered, the report says, according to the newspaper. "I can name ten to twenty branches in the city center that are not pure", an anonymous 'top official' said to the researchers. Criminals are also affecting the housing market by investing their criminally earned money in real estate. 

According to the Telegraaf, the municipality of Amsterdam acknowledged to the researchers that "there is no question of a grip on drug-related crime in the city."

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