A new breed of organised crime network is set to target the food industry, according to a report by European police chiefs.
The report by Europol claims that criminals are turning away from traditional sources of crime to become “criminal entrepreneurs” and have their sights set on industries such as food and drink, which offer rewards from soaring commodity costs and scarcity of supply.
It warns that gangs will attempt to cash in on the scarcity of food and rising food process by stockpiling food supplies to sell on the black market in the future.
Groups are also increasingly likely to try to seize cargo containing food, as has already been the case for UN aid supply trucks in the past, but other less aggressive tactics could see gang infiltrate the industry to pose as brokers and agent in areas which depend on scarce natural resources.
A decline of traditional hierarchical criminal groups and networks will be accompanied by the expansion of a virtual criminal underground made up of individual criminal entrepreneurs, who come together on a project basis,” Europol warns.
“They may attempt to capitalise on the scarcity of food and rising food process.“It is possible that groups with large resources start to stockpile food supplies to sell on black markets in future. “Water is one such scarce resource, says the report, with gangs likely to siphon or steal water and sell it for “exorbitant prices.”It mentions that gangs are already involved in such activities in areas such as oil and gas, which could “easily be extended to the theft of water.”
Europol reports that virtual currencies are increasingly enabling individuals to act as “freelance criminal entrepreneurs” operating on a crime-as-a-service business model without the need for a sophisticated criminal infrastructure to receive and launder money.