Amsterdam to focus on people's resilience in fight against drug crime

Amsterdam is stepping up the fight against drug crime with a package of measures focused on making neighborhoods and their residents more resilient, and on "actively disrupting" drug dealing. Dealers will be tackled at their hangouts and garage boxes, and young people who are in danger of entering the drug world will be better monitored, the city said in a statement. 

"The drug problem is complex. We realize that endurance is needed", Amsterdam mayor Femke Halsema said. "We are prepared to make a long-term effort to reduce the toxic effect of drug trafficking on Amsterdam society.

This approach, called 'Resilient people, resilient neighborhoods', comes after a report by Pieter Tops and Jan Tromp showed that Amsterdam has little idea about what happens in the drug world. The city aims to change that. "In a short time we want to get a more precise picture of how vulnerable young Amsterdammers are recruited, how criminal networks are nestled in neighborhoods, and how drug money is deposited in, for example, the real estate sector", Halsema said. 

In order to keep vulnerable young people out of the drug world, the city expanded its Top600 approach to include people involved in drug crime. Until now the Top600 approach focused on perpetrators of High Impact Crime, like robbery and mugging. The city will work with the police and youth groups to map out which young people seem most likely to become involved in drug crime, and how to effectively keep them away from it. This can involve disrupting recruiters, for example, but also offering them an alternative.

Amsterdam will also provide active support to people who want to get out of the drug crime world, by offering them training for an alternative career.

In neighborhoods were drug crimes are a major problem, the city will attempt to penetrate into criminal groups. The police will actively remove drug dealers from squares, hangouts and garage boxes. And the municipality will actively close proprieties where drugs are traded. 

For the coming four years, the city government set 4 million euros aside for measures against drug crimes.