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Subversive crime

"Subversive” refers to forms of crime that undermine the integrity of companies and social institutions, or in a general sense, have a degrading effect on values and norms. The concept of subversive crime ('ondermijnende criminaliteit' in Dutch), points at illegal activities that seriously disrupt this integrity. Subversive crime is not limited to organised crime, but also encompasses financial-economic crimes connected to social and fiscal regulation, money laundering and bribes. The crimes often involve drug production and trafficking, criminal motorcycle gangs and violence. But also labour exploitation, fraud with personal care budgets, and environmental crimes. The consequences become visible in investments in real estate, economic activity and criminal “benefactorship.” It is not just a problem of the big(ger) cities, but also of smaller towns in rural areas, and it affects all layers of society.

Subversive crime can only operate when facilitated – either deliberately or unconsciously, by essential infrastructure. This includes physical infrastructure such as real estate, means of transport and communication, but also more immaterial infrastructure, such the economic and financial system, labour market structures and the services and products provided by government. Moreover, criminals need ‘human infrastructure’ in the shape of professionals such as accountants, employment agencies and tax advisors or customs officials who possess knowledge, skills and access to networks that are attractive to criminals. Measures to reduce subversive crime include the monitoring and aprehention of organised crime, grow societal resilience (limit the need for 'quick cash', make cooperation with criminals unattractive) and strengthen integrity of those in powerfull positions (limit bribes, limit extortion, grow transparency). 

For additional information about fighting subversive crime, visit

Related keywords: ondermijning, drugs, bribery, labor exploitation, environmental crimes.