Universiteit Leiden

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Does migration lead to more political and ideological related crime?

No evidence found that increasing migration leads to an increase in politically and ideologically motivated criminality. Migration flows have, however resulted in increased polarisation in the Netherlands.

Within the framework of a European project, Leiden University conducted research on the possible connection between increased migration flows and politically and ideologically related criminality in the Netherlands in the period between 2012 and 2016. This period is characterised on the one hand by an increase in the number of migrants to different European countries and on the other by an increase in politically and ideologically motivated criminality.

The Netherlands

The study looked at the Dutch situation with the primary emphasis on the traditional media, social media and the programmes propagated by political parties during the elections in 2012 and 2017. The presence of politically and ideologically motivated criminality was explored partly on the basis of different editions of the Terrorist Threat Assessment Netherlands (DTN).

Right versus left

The traditional and social media sources and party programmes examined were categorised according to whether it identified as politically left right wing.  Both traditional and social media that can be categorised as politically right treated the influx of migrants as a negative development. Right-wing political parties identified the influx of migrants primarily as a security issue, whereas their leftist counterparts outlined the positive aspects of migration, and emphasised the background to the flows of migration. Left-wing political parties regarded the influx of refugees as an enrichment to Dutch society.

Conclusion

Based on these sources, together with data from DTN, it was not possible to determine whether there has been an increase in politically and ideologically oriented criminality. From analyses of traditional media, social media and the programmes put forward by political party programmes, it can however be concluded that there has been an increase in polarisation in society, but that this does not necessarily lead to an increase in politically and ideologically oriented criminality.

This report studied the possible nexus between migration and political and ideological biased crime throughout the Netherlands. We conducted open source data analysis for the period 2012-2016 and found that there was no significant rise in political and ideological biased crime related to migration. 

Research project and implementation

This study is part of the European research project ‘Politically motivated crime in light of current migration flows’ and was carried out by the  Terrorism & Political Violence group, which is part of Leiden University’s  Institute of Security and Global Affairs.  The project was financed by the ISF Fund, coordinated by the German Federal Investigation Department  (Bundeskriminalamt).

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