Saturday. 18.01.2020
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Police statistics: increased number of homicides and sexual offences

The latest report published by the National Police Board of Finland show that in the first half of 2019 homicides grew by 20.59% and sexual crimes by 16.6% in Finland. Around 28% of suspects of sexual offences are foreign citizens. Police warns that technological development together with crime internationalization allow better anonymity and makes investigation more expensive and time-consuming.

Photo: Kosti Keistinen.
Photo: Kosti Keistinen.
Police statistics: increased number of homicides and sexual offences

The National Police Board of Finland published today the latest figures about criminal offences reported in the country during the first half of 2019.

The figures and the analysis of them by the police allow to draw several conclusions. In the first place, there is a reduction (22.50%) of the total crimes committed in Finland between January and June 2019. This reduction is mainly explained by decreases in some traffic offenses, assaults, domestic violence reported cases and thefts involving entry into homes or business premises.

The other side of the coin is represented by the forms of crime that have increased: in the first half of the year there were 41 homicides (7 more cases or 20.59% more than in the same period of 2018); also 2077 sexual crimes (296 or 16.62% more cases than between January-June 2018) and 13,266 drug-related crimes (314 more cases or 2.42% more).

Total number of criminal offences decreased

Regarding the slight descent in total criminal offences reported, the National Police Commissioner Seppo Kolehmainen remarked that "the internationally noted 'crime drop' phenomenon is also appearing in Finland's crime statistics as a reduction in overall criminality. During the last ten years, the total number of criminal offences reported to the Police has been declining, with the exception of a couple of years".

On the increase in homicide cases (20.59%), the Police said that "it is difficult to assess whether this is only a random deviation. As a result of the overall number of homicide-related crimes, individual events easily raise the percentage share in the statistics. During the last twenty years, the numbers of homicides have stabilized at the current level".

Sexual offences increased

The official figures show that another exception to the declining trend in the overall crime rates of Finland is found in the number of reports concerning sex offences, which have grown during the last few years. Compared to the corresponding period last year, the growth recorded is 16.62%. 

Specifically, in the analyzed period there were 723 reported cases of rape, which means 120 cases or 19.9% ​​more than in the same period of the previous year. 853 cases of sexual abuse of minors were also reported (152 or 22.19% more). The rest of sexual crimes (including harassment) increased by almost 5%

However, the police attributed this statistical increase not so much to an increase in the total number of such crimes, but to the fact that "a change has occurred in reporting activity".

Of the sex offences reported, the suspect is known in approximately 67% of the cases. "Of these suspects, about 28% are foreign citizens and, compared to the previous year, the proportion of foreigners has grown 6 percent".

However, the National Police Board stressed that these figures only reflect the number of reported crimes, so they do not mean that the number of perpetrators has increased. In other words, the same perpetrator may be suspected in several cases. 

According to the assessment of National Police Commissioner Seppo Kolehmainen, "the accumulation of safety problems within a smaller population group as well as the concentration of these problems in certain areas indeed represent trends".

Technological developments allow anonymity

The Police also highlighted that nowadays the investigation of crimes is affected by two major trends: internationalization and the development of technology. These are reflected in drawn-out investigative periods and also s a decline in the clearance rates.

More and more crimes are being committed by exploiting technology, which also allow for better anonymity for criminals. Technological development together with internationalization enable crimes in Finland be directly committed abroad.

According to Police Commissioner Kolehmainen, "these two megatrends have the most effect on the investigative resources of the Police, since both types of phenomena require expert knowledge and special equipment". "In addition, these factors of change are also making the investigation of crimes more expensive and more time consuming", he said.

If you want to read the full statistical report on criminality in Finland for the January-June 2019 period, you can find it HERE