After citizens are not guaranteed by law the right to privately own a gun, one city in the Netherlands is taking government power one step further by confiscating luxury goods if it is unclear how they were paid for.
“They are often young guests who consider themselves untouchable. We’re going to undress them on the street,” Rotterdam police chief Frank Paauw said to De Telegraaf.
This new policing approach is part of the Rotterdam police and the Public Prosecution Service’s fight against “undermining.”
The agents are reportedly trained to recognize coats of criminal suspects.
“We regularly take a Rolex from a suspect. Clothes rarely. And that is especially a status symbol for young people,” Paauw said. “Some young people now walk with jackets of 1800 euros. They do not have any income, so the question is how they get there.”
Before looking at luxury goods, the police used a “patser” approach and looked at expensive cars. De Telegraaf reported that police “want to give the clear signal that crime does not pay off.”
“These young people have no income, sometimes even debts from a previous conviction, but also wear an outfit that exceeds 1500 euros. That is undermining the rule of law if you make it very big, but also a completely false signal to local residents,” Paauw said. “Taking away is therefore important.”
The Public Prosecution Service is conducting an experiment with the police to see what is legally feasible.
The new policy will be first deployed in Rotterdam West so that the criminal youth “will be dealt with.”
“Such an expensive coat is for them what a speedboat is for an established drug boss. We will therefore expressly ask questions about origin,” Paauw said.
Interventions in the streets increased by 30 percent in the last year, according to De Telegraaf.
This new approach is not only aimed at the street, but also mala fide companies, drug crime and illegal gambling.
Rotterdam confiscated 11.5 million euros in money and goods in 2016, and the amount confiscated in 2017 is still unknown.
In the U.S., according to the Pew Research Center, the public perception of crime rates don’t align with the data.
“Opinion surveys regularly find that Americans believe crime is up nationally, even when the data show it is down,” the Pew Research Center reports.
In a 2016 survey, the center found that 57 percent of voters said that crime had gotten worse since 2008 when data showed that property and violent crime rates had declined by “double-digit percentages.”
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