Executive summary

AuthorDirectorate-General for Internal Policies of the Union (European Parliament)
Organised Property Crime in the EU
The problem
Organised Property Crime is a complex criminal phenomenon that contributes to a feeling of insecurity
amongst European citizens1. Crimes included in this broad category are continuously changing in
terms of organisation, targets, modi operandi, and perpetrators. This variety places Organised Property
Crime in a spectrum ranging from the most serious forms of crime committed by established organised
criminal groups to petty criminality. A legal definition does not exist. In 2011 Europol created the label
of Mobile Organised Criminal Groups (MOCGs) for strategic purposes, in order to collect and organise
information coming from MS. This is an ongoing yet promising process that clusters different variables
under the same label. If further advanced, this process
data and information related to both the scale of Organised Property Crime in Europe, and how this
phenomenon has changed and developed over time. Long-term, this process could lead to the
adoption of a shared legal definition of OPC among MS and facilitate international investigative and
judicial cooperation in tackling this form of crime.
The O
phenomenon within the EU. The following are some of the characteristics of this common
High degree of mobility
For maximizing cross border opportunities and reducing the risks of investigation and prosecution in
a given national justice system. The choice for a new location is usually influenced by the presence of
stable contacts, friends or family.
Different group structures
At EU level 3 types of MOCGs were distinguished2:
1. The hierarchical structured MOCGs, characterised by internal systems of control and discipline,
e.g. groups under control of the thieves in law
2. Familial or clan based MOCGs
3. Loose and fluid networks of individuals coming together around a criminal project.
Prevalence of offenders of Eastern European Origin
The Eastern European origins of these groups are usually underlined. This is commonly true, but many
groups include a mix of nationalities. Generally, there is one dominant nationality, supported by
members of other nationalities.
1 As highlighted in the Europol webpage on Organised Property Crime: https://www.europol.europa.eu/crime-areas-and-
2 These categories were identified by a Europol Expert during an interview on the 19th May 2020.

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