The German Presidency will be focusing on the prevention of family-based organised crime.
In various European countries, organised crime as well as petty crime is often associated with distinct social groups which are often characterised by clan-like and/or family-based structures. The German topic particularly addresses distinct, insular groups whose members are related by family or family-like relations and whose income consists of proceeds from criminal activities in various areas. Such groups include Mafia groups, crime syndicates and cartel-like structures. In some cases, such groups of perpetrators share ethnic origins, a migration background or cultural affiliations, but that is not necessarily the case. Violence is a characteristic feature of these structures, also in relation towards competing criminal groups. For dealing with criminal members of such subcultures, both a wide repressive approach as well as a strong preventive approach (e.g. strengthening schools as a social space) would be a conceivable response from the government. Traditional strategies of crime control and prevention however often reach their limits, this raises the fundamental question what measures and strategies would be appropriate. The most affected federal states in Germany have come to pursue a zero tolerance policy towards family-based organised crime and an administrative approach. It might also be feasible to have exit programmes, similar to programmes for people who wish to end their involvement with extremist groups. Measures starting at an earlier point in a person’s biography may also be considered to interrupt the criminal pathways of young people. When designing prevention strategies, it may be useful to pay more attention to the role of women. Women in family-based organised crime structures are often victims of severe oppression, but it is the women who bring up children and teach them values.