Two recent initiatives against transnational organized crime provide reasons for optimism. They suggest that we are finally moving out of the doldrums of a protracted 10-year period during which there was only confined space available for developing new approaches to address organized crime. During this period terrorism had closed down the organized crime debate. There was limited opportunity within institutions and governments for creative and candid assessments of what is required to counter organized crime.
Now there is a shift. It is caused by the growing realization that the policies and approaches of the past are not working. Global organized crime is expanding. Key to the success of international crime networks has been their ability to rapidly exploit the benefits of globalization. They have surged ahead in a world that for them has no borders, leaving behind law enforcement agencies that are stuck within their national borders.
The two initiatives are encouraging, even though they are not yet operational and relate to specific regions only. The first is the announcement in March 2012 that a European Cybercrime Centre is to be established at the Europol offices in The Hague during January 2013. The center will be the European focal point in fighting cybercrime and will focus on illegal online activities carried out by organized crime groups, such as online fraud involving credit cards. It is estimated that worldwide more than one million people become victims of cybercrime every day. The global turnover of cybercrime could reach an overall USD 388 billion, making it more profitable than the global trade in marijuana, cocaine and heroin combined. The agreement to adopt a EU regional approach towards countering cybercrime is a significant advance and should be replicated in other regions.