Foreign criminal gangs increasingly involved in property crimes in the Netherlands
Foreign criminal gangs are increasingly getting involved in property crimes in the Netherlands. Based on previously unreleased police data, accessed by Omroep WNL's NPO Radio 1 program, Het Misdaadbureau, it was reported that in 25 percent of property crimes committed last year, the suspect identified was neither born in the Netherlands, possessed a Dutch address, nor held Dutch nationality.
The increase from 21 percent in 2021 to 25 percent in property crimes committed by individuals not born in the Netherlands is significant. The crimes committed include theft of GPS devices from agricultural vehicles, pickpocketing, and electric bike thefts. Incidences of shoplifting and car thefts are also growing.
The criminal gangs operating in the Netherlands come from various regions, including Eastern Europe, the Balkans, and South America. According to René Middag, National Police's coordinator for mobile banditry, individuals exploiting the asylum procedure to engage in criminal activity across Europe also contribute to these crimes.
Middag also warned of new tricks used by these criminals across Europe, notably about the increase in burglaries using acid. “Several countries have reported suffering from itinerant gangs who use a special acid to 'melt' the locks on front doors, allowing them to open the front door with a screwdriver,” Middag noted, adding that so far, there have not been any incidents of this nature reported in the Netherlands.
Middag also drew attention to a new tactic called the "spit trick." In this strategy, a criminal intentionally spits on a passerby, then offers to help clean up the mess. During the distraction, they seize the opportunity to steal personal belongings. Another concern involves fake police officers stationed on roadsides. Displaying counterfeit police badges and signs, these impostors signal drivers to pull over for what appears to be a routine check. However, this typically results in the drivers becoming victims of theft, losing cash or valuable equipment.