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JADS explores data science and subversive crime in new Center for the studies of organized and subversive crime

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Den Bosch, January 25, 2021 – The Province of Noord-Brabant, Taskforce-RIEC Brabant-Zeeland, the Municipality of Tilburg and the Strategisch Beraad Ondermijning, establish the Center for the studies of organized and subversive crime at Jheronimus Academy of Data Science (JADS). The center was launched on 1 January 2021, under the direction of endowed professor Pieter Tops.

The Center will investigate how data science can help get a better grip on the problem of subversive crime in the Netherlands. Parts of the collaboration are the development of a broad research program and the establishment of an endowed chair at JADS.

Pieter Tops has been appointed for the position of endowed professor with starting 1 January 2021. Pieter Tops is affiliated with the Dutch Police Academy as a lecturer and at Leiden University as an endowed professor of the study of subversive crime. His main task will be to bring together the academic world and the world of practice, such as the police, the Public Prosecution Service, the Tax Authorities and the local government, with their different ways of thinking and working, in the most fruitful way possible around the use of data and artificial intelligence.

The disruptive effect of subversive and organized crime

Organized crime, and especially drug crime, leaves disruptive traces in society. Criminals set up businesses for their activities, apply for permits and rent and buy buildings. For this they need the cooperation of, for example, government agencies, banks, brokers, administrative offices and notaries. The influence of organized crime on the world of legitimate businesses and organizations, is called “ondermijning” (organized and subversive crime) in Dutch.

Undermining is a major problem that is difficult to combat and that is receiving a lot of attention in the province of Noord-Brabant. Governments and organizations have made enormous efforts in recent years to suppress organized and subversive crime. In a letter to parliament, Minister Grapperhaus recently endorsed the ambition of the Strategic Council for Undermining to reduce drug crime by 505 in the coming 10 years.

The role of data science in combating subversive crime

Pieter Tops: “In order to combat the problem of subversive and organized crime, it is important to gain more insights. Data science plays an important role in this. More and more data about the world of crime is available, for example camera images, bank transactions or telephone data. Organizing and analyzing these data can help us to better understand the underworld and thus better fight crime. ”

Research program

“Within the new research program, researchers at JADS will, for example, work with police data from intercepted encrypted messages. There is a wealth of information there and the proper analysis of this data can provide information to advance criminal investigations, but can also provide insights into how the underworld works”, says Tops.

Another theme is the protection of logistics systems, such as ports, that play a role in the import and export of drugs. The digitization of ports leads to improved efficiency, but how do we ensure that vulnerabilities in systems will not be used by criminals?

A third research theme is the use of data by parties in the criminal justice chain, such as the police. What does the increasing availability of data mean for investigations? How do digital technologies influence operational work and how can data further support field agents? How can we ensure this is done in an ethical and safe manner?

Work smarter and more efficiently through data-driven work

The parties within the cooperation are engaged in maintaining public order and fighting undermining crime. The knowledge from the research program helps to gain new insights and to make the operation smarter and more efficient.

Wil van Pinxteren, deputy at the Province of Noord-Brabant for Safety, among other things: “We are committed to a safe Brabant for everyone. Combating undermining and organized crime is an important spearhead in this respect. We do this by developing innovative knowledge in this field together. I am convinced that scientific research into more data-driven working and the development of artificial intelligence will help our partners go a step further in fighting crime. Our residents, visitors, companies and institutions will benefit from this. ”

The collaboration involves an investment of 600,000 euros over a period of four years. The parties involved each contribute 150,000 euros. Other parties are also called upon to commit themselves to the Center for the Study of Undermining.


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