Crime in the European Union
Crime in the EU has been evolving as different criminal elements from different states have the ability to move more freely from one EU state to another. The criminal landscape of Europe as we once knew it is changing massively.
There has been seen a decline of traditional criminal groups and an expansion of virtual criminal underground movements. These can be, single criminal entrepreneurs coming together for particular criminal projects. This sort of criminal activity has already been seen in the domain of cybercrimes, but it is thought it can encroach on traditional crimes such as, theft, drug trafficking, and counterfeit goods.
Europol investigates crime and main purpose is the exchange of information of law enforcement agencies within the EU states. Europol is a EU agency, that functions on a system of checks, controls and supervision. It has been in existence since 2010 and it is ultimately responsible to a body of EU member states. Organized crime now has an international dimension in the EU, and Europol works to protect the EU states and to keep them safe from a wide range of crimes. Including, cyber-crime, child exploitation, terrorism, illegal immigration, sexual exploitation, and many more.
It cooperates with other law enforcement agencies both inside and outside the EU, to try and combat global crime organizations. The full list of crimes it protects against is over forty-four and is rapidly increasing as new types of crimes are continually being developed.
Organized Crime in Europe
Europol is investigating organized crime in Europe, and has identified key driving factors that are changing the European criminal landscape of serious, organized crime in Europe. It has produced a report defining how the independent law authorities may counter this coming onslaught of organized crime. Europol states in its report, Organized crime is dynamic and adaptable and law enforcement authorities across the EU are challenged to keep pace with the changing nature of this substantial and significant threat.
Factors for Future Change
The report listed key driving factors that will contribute to significant change in how criminals will commit future crimes in Europe:
- The exploitation of centralized personal data
- Changes in logistics and transportation and border controls will make it easier for criminals to move freely to commit crime
- Robotics and nanotechnology will open up new markets for criminal activity
- E-waste is rapidly becoming as sought after illicit commodity
- Freedom of movement and economic disparity enable crime organizations to infiltrate weak communities
- Virtual currencies are most susceptible to fraud and do not need a big crime network to exploit
- Due to a growing elderly population in the EU, this is becoming a new and bigger market for criminals to target
The EU by its very nature is prone to crime, the EU is all about breaking down traditional barriers between member nations. But be employing this freedom it has opened certain doors for criminal elements to exploit. The biggest freedom, the freedom of movement, has enabled many criminal organized groups to travel between countries with little restriction and to ply their criminal activities in places where they are not known.
Europol has been formed to combat this infiltration and to pass information among all member states so that individual law enforcement agencies can act appropriately.