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Action plan against criminal gangs

Published on 21/03/2007

21 March 2007

BRUSSELS – Gangs of criminals who travel throughout the country are turning to the anonymity of the cities to protect them. They are spending less time in the residential neighbourhoods and committing more burglaries in the large cities, which they continue to use as home bases.

This emerged from a report from a study day on these “rovers” in September last year. The report draws the outlines for a new, updated action plan against the Eastern European criminal gangs.

Better cooperation is needed between police and justice officials, says security adviser Brice De Ruyver. “There is no reason to rest on our laurels. The national approach is still too lax.”

The smaller scale of the gangs – 2 to 3 perpetrators, committing 10 or so offences – is evidence that police have been successful. The gangs no longer have the chance to grow to 20 to 30 members, as they used to, or commit hundreds of crimes.

But on the other hand the roving gangs also learn from their encounters with police, De Ruyver says. An example is the fact that a number of gangs has settled in the Dutch area of the Meus-Rhine region, where police are in short supply and police cooperation with Dutch and German police is still “lacking.”

The gangs are still responsible for a quarter of the property crimes in Belgium. And questioning of gang members themselves indicates that they are not scared off by police checks or heavy penalties.

[Copyright Expatica News 2007]

Subject: Belgian news