For the fourth consecutive year, the number of anonymous tips regarding drug labs has increased. In 2018, Meld Misdaad Anoniem (M.: Report on Crime Anonymously) received a record number of 249 reports on production labs of -amongst other things- XTC and GHB; an increase of 40%. In addition, more reports were received on criminality on the streets such as shoplifting, pickpocketing and robbery. Once again, the number of reports on hemp plantations decreased (-21%). However, the ‘proceeds’ of hemp plants remained invariably high at an estimated street value of 37 million euros.
Production labs for synthetic drugs were discovered throughout the country thanks to tips to M. For example, drug labs were dismantled in Leiderdorp, Sliedrecht, Sint Willebrord, Elsendorp and Eerste Exloërmond. Spokesman Marc Janssen: “The time when we predominantly received reports on drug labs in the south of the country has come to an end. Analysis of our statistics shows that the number of tips regarding drug labs in Noord-Brabant (North Brabant) and Limburg remained stable, however in all other regions this number increased. The largest increase was seen in the regions of Den Haag (The Hague) and Noord-Nederland (Northern Netherlands).”
Police have previously warned of an increase in the number of drug labs in residential areas, and the major risks that the production of synthetic drugs entails. An XTC-lab was also found in the middle of a residential area in Waalwijk. Following an anonymous tip, police found 150.000 XTC tablets, approximately 15 kilos of MDMA and two tabletting machines. The MDMA was being mixed with other substances and then processed into tablets. Mayor Nol Kleijngeld: “This was a life threatening situation for the surrounding area, hence my decision to close down the premises. Last year we closed down 36 drug premises, partly due to tips received through Meld Misdaad Anoniem. Together with the residents and entrepreneurs, we are working on creating a safe city.”
The number of tips on hemp cultivation continued to decrease in the past year (4.529 compared to 5.754 in 2017), however the ‘proceeds’ of the tips remained invariably high. Police reported a total of at least 377.554 hemp plants having been confiscated. The estimated street value of this hemp exceeds 37 million euros.
Prison sentences Drug crime often goes hand in hand with organised crime and financial-economical crimes, such as criminal property and money laundering. More than 700 tips on these types of crimes were received and also led to convictions. A 48-year-old man from Apeldoorn was sentenced to four years in prison by the court, for laundering five million euros.
Also in other violent cases in the past year, perpetrators were convicted thanks to anonymous tips. Two men from Huizen were sentenced to seven and six years imprisonment for a violent home robbery in Laren and a man from Amsterdam received two years prison time for the sexual exploitation of an underage girl. The court sentenced a citizen from Tilburg to three years in prison for arson at a bus company, and a judge imposed two years in prison on two men who stored and traded 35,000 kilos of illegal fireworks.
Perpetrators recognised Last year, more reports were received regarding street crimes, such as shoplifting, pickpocketing and robbery. In total, M. forwarded 332 of these types of tips (+27%) to police. Marc Janssen: “Most of these tips are received in response to Opsporing Verzocht (a national investigative TV show) and regional investigative TV shows. After their images are shown on TV, perpetrators are being recognised. It touches people personally, which is why many want to think along. Street robbery, however, is often accompanied by intimidation and violence. If the perpetrators are known in their suburb or village, the option of reporting anonymously can offer a solution.”
In total, M. forwarded 15.041 tips to police and investigative authorities last year. Feedback from police in 2018 shows that partly thanks to M.-tips, at least 1.421 arrests were made.
More resolved cases per province can be found on the website www.meldmisdaadanoniem.nl/category/nieuws