The government should be far more aggressive in its efforts to confiscate criminals’ assets, mayors of the 12 big Dutch cities and the head of the public prosecution service say in an opinion piece in Friday’s Volkskrant.
‘Drugs labs in residential areas, burning cars driven into the Waalre town hall, drugs waste in parks and woods, gangland killings and threats against mayors from Haarlem to Venlo. Organised crime is increasingly out in the open and with that comes the risk that innocent people will become victims,’ the mayors write.
The mayors say that key to reversing this situation is a concerted effort to seize the proceeds of crime.
Criminal gangs make an estimated €9.3bn a year from the drugs and weapons trade, prostitution and people smuggling but only 1% of that is ever confiscated by the state, the officials say.
The government must invest more in tracking down and confiscating assets, they say. ‘More must be done to hit them where it hurts, their financial and material gains,’ they state.
An investment of €50m in local initiatives will easily be earned back, meaning the risk to the state is zero, the mayors said.
Last year the public prosecution department was able to claw back €136m from convicted criminals.
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