Half of Amsterdam cab drivers tied up in criminal cases since 2018
Roughly 2,550 taxi drivers in Amsterdam were suspected of involvement in criminal cases just since 2018, according to a study produced on behalf of an organization representing regional municipalities, the police, the prosecution service and tax authorities. The study showed that the taxi drivers, about 53 percent of the city’s total, were investigated both as perpetrators, witnesses, or were otherwise connected to crimes that took place, such as serious traffic offenses and violent crimes, Parool reported.
Amsterdam has 4,801 registered independent taxi drivers, including drivers for paid ride-sharing services like Uber. About 42 percent of them were somehow involved in drug cases, weapons cases, serious violent crime, or subversive offenses often linked to organize crime. “It is code red for the Amsterdam taxi industry,” the researchers from Bureau Beke wrote in their report, “Taxi! Malicious Activities and (Subversive) Crime in the Amsterdam Taxi Industry.”
The researchers said, ”The industry is becoming increasingly criminalized,” in the study, which was sent to Amsterdam’s city council on Tuesday. The first such report on the Amsterdam taxi sector showed that the number of taxi drivers exceeds the demand for taxi service, Parool noted. It also concluded taxis can easily be a front for organized crime.
The study suggested 71 of 1,050 taxi companies are potentially bad players in the sector. About seven percent of them may be involved in “rogue activities” linked to subversive crime in the area. This also includes criminals who try to use taxis as a way of eluding police while engaged in drugs and weapons trafficking. This was especially the case during the various stages of coronavirus lockdowns, according to the newspaper.
Rules meant to impact nuisance caused by taxis will also take effect at the end of 2022. This includes “taxi-restricted zones” in some parts of the city center where there are too many cabs, limiting taxis in hotspot areas like around Central Station and the Johan Cruijff Arena during events and making rules the same for all drivers whether they pick up passengers on the street or by appointment.
The study also found that an average day in Amsterdam had 2,798 taxis on the street, including Uber drivers. Since 2018, the police in the capital registered 22,339 “taxi-related incidents.”