April 8, 2012

Statistics on European Art Crime

by Dr. Ludo Block, Senior Investigator at Grant Thornton Forensic & Investigation Services Netherlands

When Poland held the European Union (EU) Presidency in the second half of 2011, Art Crime formed one of their priorities in the field of police cooperation. Among other things, this resulted in Council Conclusions on preventing and combating crime against cultural goods, which were adopted by the EU Council on 13 December 2011.

The Polish Presidency coordinated efforts in the Law Enforcement Working Group of the EU Council to collect statistics on Art Crime and the law enforcement responses on Art Crime in different EU member states. The table below shows some of the data collected, i.e. the number of offences between 2007 and 2010 as recorded in 20 of the 27 EU member states. The exact definitions of 'Art Crime offences'  of course differ between the EU member states, but the data does give some insight in the trends. Additionally, these data have not been previously collected and published together.

Number of Art Crime offences 2007-2010 in 20 European Union Member States:


Year
EU Member State

2007

2008

2009

2010
Austria
131
125
113
missing data
Belgium
229
223
252
175
Bulgaria
206
164
204
191
Cyprus
8
7
10
14
Czech Republic
370
639
1527
954
Denmark
57
62
50
82
Estonia
8
9
8
7
France
2714
2223
1751
1442
Greece
75
87
72
91
Spain
443
432
489
543
Netherlands
missing data
missing data
missing data
831
Lithuania
15
13
14
12
Latvia
46
(171 items stolen)
94
(222 items stolen)
79
(204 items stolen)
100
(318 items stolen)
Malta
9
8
9
6
Germany
2003
2265
2055
missing data
Poland
1132
776
814
804
Portugal
164
233
200
159
Slovakia
24
25
26
29
Slovenia
28
55
42
66
Italy
1085
1031
882
817
TOTAL
8747
8471
8597
6323


6 comments:

  1. oops! This is VERY painful: no data available from my country, The Netherlands. For almost ten years we did not have a specialized police force (we still don't). There is a one-man office now. Not an operational force, but just there to register art crime. Preparation of this one-man bureau took some five years; a slooooooow process. Too bad, especially since we have the world's most important arts and antiquities annual fair, TEFAF, within our borders. Interesting information for those of you who are not aware of this: there is a statute of limitations on theft, including art theft, of twenty years in The Netherlands. So, a very active operational police force really would not be luxury.

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  2. Any information how these data were collected? Directly from police forces? If so: would the same data be available through Interpol? Is there any interpretation of these data available? If these are the number of offences, is there also information about the number of objects stolen?

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  3. These data were collected through a questionnaire distributed in the EU Council Law enforcement Working Group (see here). How the subsequent collection process went in each member states, I don't know. I have checked the French data with the data published by the OCBC and it matches.

    I believe that these data are not necessarily also available through Interpol. For example, the Works of Art database in 2010 'only' recorded 1605 new objects stolen and the EU data show in the same year 6323 offences (thus at least the same number of object and most likely more). The threshold to get an object in the Works of Art database is higher than to report it stolen.

    The official document in which the EU data are collated has (still) not been released. Am working on that but when I laid my hands on a presentation based on that official document, I thought it would be good to already publish some of it. There is more data to follow.....

    ReplyDelete
  4. Ludo, I followed the link that you presented in your reply (http://register.consilium.europa.eu/pdf/en/11/st08/st08457.en11.pdf) but could not find anything related to art crime. I look forward to future data.

    Ton Cremers

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ton, the document I referred to in my reply contains the minutes of the meeting where the questionnaire was distributed among the member states' representatives. See page 12 at the bottom. The final data are collated in this document.
      However, this document is only partly accessible because (and I quote from a reply I received from the Council Secretariat):

      'it contains sensitive statistical and operational data that, if released to the public, could be misused by different criminal groups involved in organised crime and compromise the work of the competent law enforcement authorities'.

      I have lodged a confirmatory application with the Council to get this data fully released because the motivation for the denial is of course mere nonsense.

      Meanwhile I have been able to get my hands on a presentation based on the original data. I will send you that presentation by email. (If anyone else is interested, please drop me an email and I'll send it to you as well).

      Ludo

      Delete
    2. Dear Ludo,
      are there any news about the final presentation of these data? Thank you very much

      Delete