On 25 and 26 April, 200 police experts and prosecutors from 34 countries convened in The Hague to attend a conference on domestic burglary hosted at Europol’s headquarters. The conference was opened by the Dutch Minister of Security and Justice, Mr. Ard van der Steur, and Europol Director, Mr. Rob Wainwright.
Domestic burglary carried out by mobile organised crime group is one of the crime fields of most concern within the EU as it has a strong impact on the security feeling of the population. Victims are often traumatised and not able to continue living in their houses after being burglarised.
Originating primarily from Eastern and South-Eastern European countries, the offenders operate in a very flexible manner and are highly mobile, abusing of the possibility of free movement within the EU. These criminal networks are often involved in other forms of property crime. There has also been a number of overlaps with trafficking in human beings, in particular in clan or family-based organised crime groups. These criminals are often steered from their leaders in the home countries and supported by residents in the countries of activity.
This conference on domestic burglary was part of two complementary European projects: the Dutch ISEC and German-led Danube projects on domestic burglary, both part of the EMPACT Operational Action Plan.
The participants identified obstacles and limitations in their daily fight against this type of crime and agreed on the need for further improving international cooperation and the exchange of information, as well as the need to set-up a network of experts to share best practice and knowledge. The two keynote speakers Prof. Jeff Brantingham (UCLA) and Sean Malinowski (Chief of the LAPD) presented predictive policing, a tool of great interest in the EU which is already being tested in a number of EU Member States.