Coronavirus also slowing down criminal assassination attempts: report

Dutch police at the scene of a crime
Dutch police at the scene of a crimePhoto: twixx/DepositPhotos

The coronavirus crisis is also having an effect on the the Netherlands' criminal underworld. The police received information that planned assassinations are being postponed after social distancing measures were implemented to curb the spread of Covid-19, Jan Struijs of police union NPB said to the Telegraaf.

According to Struijs, the slow down in murder attempts may have to do with the emptier streets - getaway cars are now easier to spot and follow. "The chance of getting caught is greater now," he said to the newspaper.

But that doesn't mean crime has come to a stand still. Organized crime is responding to the crisis with corona-related cybercrime, fraud, and the production of counterfeit products, Struijs said. "Criminals are extremely creative. Look at drug sales. Due to the closed hospitality and canceled events, part of the sales market has disappeared. What we are seeing now is an increase in drugs by mail." 

Struijs is also concerned about hygiene measures meaning that there is now less cash in circulation. "Criminals like cash and become desperate. Chances are greater of robberies and burglaries at home. More chance of violence being used."

Investigations are also being hindered by the virus and measures to curb it. Protective measures make it more difficult to intercept a drug transport, arrest criminals involving several countries, or question witnesses abroad. "I hear from the intelligence department that with about 80 percent of the information now received by the police, nothing can be done," Strijs said. 

According to Struijs, the long-term effects the coronavirus will have on crime and the fight against it, are hard to predict. "The criminal investigation department now has to very quickly switch to tackling new forms of crime, only to switch back after the corona crisis," he said.