News & Politics

Dutch Police to Seize Clothing, Jewelry From 'Youths' Who Can't Explain How They Got It

Dutch Police to Seize Clothing, Jewelry From 'Youths' Who Can't Explain How They Got It
Dutch riot police charges after riots broke out at a pro Erdogan demonstration outside the Turkish consulate in Rotterdam, Netherlands, Sunday, March 12, 2017. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong)

Have you ever looked at how people dress and wondered how they afford it? Maybe they borrow them from wealthier friends, or know how to score on eBay. Or maybe they are criminals.

Authorities in Rotterdam, Holland, are now going to always go with “criminals” — and may seize your outfit right there in the street.

Yes, seriously.

According to The Independent, Rotterdam police will be launching a pilot program that will have police questioning people wearing designer clothing and jewelry who appear suspicious. If the individual is unable to explain where the merchandise came from, officers will have the ability to take it from them right then and there.

Said Rotterdam police chief Frank Paauw: “They are often young men who consider themselves untouchable. We’re going to undress them on the street. We regularly take a Rolex from a suspect. Clothes rarely. And that is especially a status symbol for young people. Some young people now walk with jackets of €1800. They do not have any income, so the question is how they get there.”

He also noted that many people owe fines for previous convictions, yet are seen dressed in expensive clothing and wearing expensive jewelry.

The Independent reports that a similar program targeted cars.

This sounds like one terrible idea. People often get expensive things legally despite having low income. They receive gifts, for example. I have no idea how Rotterdam police intend to challenge the “it’s a gift” excuse in the street.

We’ve had civil asset forfeiture for decades in this country, and it’s allowed police to seize a lot of private property from law-abiding people. It’s also done nothing to deter criminals. In fact, it’s a good way to make young people resent police on sight. There will be plenty of legitimate allegations of harassment and bigotry, and I would expect some people will choose to wear expensive items just to bait the police into a mistake.

Let’s hope this policing idea never hits America.