Europol Spotlight - The use of violence by organised crime groups

29 January 2021
Europol Spotlight series

The use of violence by organised crime groups is a growing concern in the European Union (EU). Recent cases suggest there has been a rise in the number of violent incidents associated with serious and organised crime over the last few years, as well as an increase in the impact and visibility they have had. Recent cases in Belgium, Denmark, Italy, Spain, as well as gang wars in Sweden (among others) have also pointed to an increasing willingness by organised crime groups to employ deadly violence in pursuit of their criminal objectives.

  • The violence seen in the EU is often linked to important transit points and is spilling out of major transportation hubs and onto the streets of surrounding cities, where competition for distribution takes place.
  • Victims of violent crimes may be victims of trafficking in human beings, violent robberies, kidnappings for ransom or smuggled migrants.
  • Europol recognises the use of violence as one of the risk indicators that define the profile of highvalue targets and supports Member State efforts to counter organise crime and mitigate the threat to life through operational task forces.

Cite this publication: Europol (2021), The use of violence by organised crime groups, Europol Spotlight Report series, Publications Office of the European Union, Luxembourg.