Criminal involvement and crime specialization among crack users in the Netherlands

Alberto Oteo Perez, Annemieke Benschop, Peter Blanken, Dirk J. Korf

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


Crack users in the Netherlands are an ageing and diverse population with longstanding criminal careers. Our aim was to assess factors associated with current criminal involvement and specialization in selling drugs, property crime and violence. Method: A sample of 1,039 frequent crack users was recruited in three major Dutch cities, combining respondent-driven sampling with random institutional sampling. Bivariate and logistic regression analyses were performed to find factors associated with current criminality. Results: A total of 431 participants (41.5%) had engaged in crime in the past 30 days, mostly selling drugs (68.9%), followed by property crimes (34.4%) and a few cases of violent crime (9.7%). Younger age, homelessness, heavier patterns of use and a more prolific criminal justice history were associated with current criminality. Those receiving welfare benefits tended to be more likely to specialize only in selling drugs as opposed to (also) property crimes. Conclusion: Reducing drug use among criminally involved crack users and addressing their housing conditions could have a significant impact on reducing drug-related crime. Welfare benefits might act as protective factor against committing property crimes but not against the selling of drugs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)53-62
Number of pages10
JournalEuropean Addiction Research
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 6 Feb 2015


  • Crack use
  • Criminality factors
  • Drug-related crime


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