Mayors push for tougher approach against organized crime
Dozens of mayors have rallied behind a letter in which proposals were made on how to undermine crime. One of the recommendations was to legalize the production of soft drugs in the Netherlands. The mayors also stated that more money needs to be invested in fighting organized crime.
The illegality of the production of soft drugs drives prices up and makes the trade in soft drugs attractive to organized crime. “We argue for the removal of this revenue model. After all, we accept sales through regulation, then production must also be regulated. With legalization, you remove the gateway to major crime,” Rosendaal Mayor Hans Van Midden said.
The mayors advocated for going after criminals more diligently and investing more money in fighting crime. This would require an investment in the entire criminal justice system, starting with the increased presence of local police officers on the street, according to the mayors.
In addition, the mayors also recommended that the capacity of the Public Prosecution Services and the courts be increased. “Cases stay on the self for an agonizingly long time. Offenders are rarely detained pending trial and pick up their old lives,” Van Midden said.
Investing in youth work and teachers who help identify and intervene if young people are in danger of resorting to crime was also a point the mayors addressed. “Prevent them from becoming the future bosses of the underworld,” Van Midden urged.
The authors of the letter emphasized that they have to deal with the consequences of undermining crime on a daily basis. “Corruption, threats, intimidation, violence and unfortunately, more and more deaths. The number of mistaken murders is also increasing,” the mayor warned. “Is your name on a death list? Then, your environment is no longer safe.”
“It is time for action”, Van Midden said. Midden claimed the mayors possibly waited for too long to let their voices be heard. Among the mayors who signed the piece were also Paul Depla from Breda, Koen Schuiling from Groningen and Onno van Veldhuizen from Enschede.
Reporting by ANP