Number of anonymous tips exceptionally high for the second year in a row; many tips regarding violent offenders and rioters

In 2021, the number of reports to Meld Misdaad Anoniem (M.) was exceptionally high for the second year in a row.  M. forwarded almost 25,000 reports to police and other investigative authorities last year. More than 800 tips were regarding disturbances of public order, such as rioters and football violence. These reports contributed to the identification and tracking down of violent perpetrators and rioters who looted and vandalised. In addition, thanks to these reporters authorities were able to take measures to prevent riots. In total, the tips lead to at least 3,300 arrests and more than one thousand weapons were taken off the streets.

For years, the number of tips fluctuated around 16,000, however, this number has been significantly higher in the past two years. Most reports were regarding drug-related offences, such as the production and trade of hard drugs, cannabis farms and international drug smuggling. M. received more than 12,500 tips about these issues, a decrease of six percent. The number of reports about violent crimes increased to more than 3,000 (+28%). There were approximately 1,700 tips regarding financial and economic crimes (+4%), followed by almost 1,600 reports that came in as a result of investigative TV programs and other investigative news reports (-1%)

Great social outrage Riots across the entire country left their marks on this past year. This was also noticeable at Meld Misdaad Anoniem. The tip line experienced a high willingness to share information about violent offenders and vandalism in inner cities. Marc Janssen: “It was obvious that society did not tolerate what was happening around them. In our conversations with reporters, we noticed that they were very displeased and angry about the violence against frontline workers, the destruction of shops, arson and looting. They were also concerned about the safety in their own area, for example when there were calls for riots in their neighbourhood or city. All of this led to a high willingness to report.”

The tips resulted in arrests across the country. For instance, there were numerous reports regarding the riots on 18 Septemberplein in Eindhoven and on the Coolsingel in Rotterdam. Arrests were made in Leerdam for online sedition. M. tips were also valuable in the investigation into the football riots during the Gelderland derby NEC-Vitesse in October last year. Ron van Brussel, Head of Investigation of the National Staff for Large-Scaled and Special Police Operations: Whilst tackling the social unrest, Police worked closely with M. This collaboration has ensured that with the help of citizens, we were able to track down and enforce more quickly at several occasions, which has led to the arrest of a number of suspects.”

More than 3,300 arrests Feedback from Police in 2021 shows that M. tips have contributed to at least 3,318 arrests. Additionally, a total of 530 firearms and 479 stabbing and striking weapons were taken off the streets following anonymous tips. 548,539 hemp plants were also seized. The estimated street value of these plants is more than 50 million euros.

Convictions In the past year, M. tips contributed to the conviction of perpetrators of serious crimes. For example, two men were sentenced to 21 months in prison for aggravated assault on three German tourists in Egmond aan Zee. The victims suffered serious head and brain injuries. In Tilburg, a head-kicker was identified through images. The judge sentenced him on appeal to a prison sentence for aggravated assault.

The court in The Hague sentenced a man on appeal to seven years in prison for a home robbery, street robbery and possession of firearms. A man from Emmen was sentenced to 1.5 years in prison for drug trafficking and money laundering of 145,000 euros, and a man from Alkmaar was sentenced to 2.5 years in prison for provoking prostitution of an underaged girl.  In Leeuwarden, two men were convicted of sexually exploiting a 15-year old girl from Drachten. They transported the victim to meetings for paid sex and split the proceeds. The court ruled that this was human trafficking.