chapter  13
16 Pages

Invisible Victims: the Problem of Policing Environmental Crime

ByToine Spapens

This chapter approaches the question of victims of environmental crime from the perspective of law enforcement in general, and the Dutch police in particular. Environmental crimes and criminals display a combination of characteristics that in many respects differs from other types of crime. They encompass a wide range of different behaviors that fall into two broad categories. The first is the pollution of the air, water, and land, for example dumping waste or blending it with other goods, and importing and using illicit pesticides. The second category concerns illegal acts causing direct harm to flora and fauna, for instance illegal deforestation and the poaching of and trading in protected wildlife. Perpetrators include petty criminals, organized crime groups such as the Italian mafia, corporations, and government agencies (Gruppo Abele-Nomos et al. 2003; Kauzlarich and Kramer 1998; Van Geffen 2001). Tackling environmental crime also involves many actors, both governmental and non-governmental. A final point is that environmental crimes are increasingly transnational in scope.