The Goods Transport Network’s Vulnerability to Crime: Opportunities and Control Weaknesses

Author: Klima, Noël

Source: European Journal on Criminal Policy and Research, Volume 17, Number 3, September 2011 , pp. 203-219(17)

Publisher: Springer

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This paper presents the findings of a qualitative study into the goods transport sector and its vulnerability to crime. Based on 33 interviews with professionals and law enforcement agents, four interviews with convicted criminals, 26 case files from the Belgian Federal Police and the customs services and 9 informal conversations with law enforcement agency personnel, academics and professionals, the paper analyses what structures, mechanisms, conditions and interdependencies make the goods transport network susceptible to criminal activity. It is suggested that vulnerability to crime is twofold, consisting of opportunities based on weak sector conditions and weak regulation. It will be demonstrated that small and medium enterprises present particular opportunities for criminal exploitation due to their weaker financial position and the lack of crime prevention measures in place. The study found no criminal ‘front’ structures that are transport businesses alone, because of the high start-up costs within the industry; rather, non-transport companies are exploited to connect to the legal transport sector. Finally, the paper identifies key weaknesses in the sector, asking whether there should be due diligence or regulatory duties for certain roles in the supply chain like shipping agents.

Keywords: Control; Crime vulnerability; Goods transport sector; Opportunity

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: IRCP - Institute for International Research on Criminal Policy, Department of Criminal Law and Criminology, Ghent University, Universiteitstraat 4, 9000, Gent, Belgium, Email:

Publication date: September 1, 2011

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