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A Finnish policeman directing traffic in Turku.

Crime in Finland is combated by the Finnish police and other agencies.

Crime by type

Murder

Further information: List of countries by intentional homicide rate

In 2021, Finland had a total of 105 homicides + 23 negligent homicides.[1]

Half of murders involve men of specific groups (unemployed, undereducated, drug and alcohol problems) in heavy drinking situations. Thirty-five percent of homicides are committed by family members, and ten percent of homicides are classified as youth violence.[2]

Women constitute 10 percent of offenders and 25 percent of victims. The vast majority of female offenders target a husband or other family member. Twenty-three percent of homicide victims of male offenders were strangers. Fewer than 20 percent of murders are committed outdoors.

Firearms are used in 14 percent of the cases. Street shootings and gang violence are extremely rare. A few cases involving motorcycle gangs have occurred in recent years, attracting national attention.

Sexual violence

Main article: Sexual violence in Finland

In 2018, 1393 cases of rape were reported to the police.[3] According to official statistics[citation needed], 27.0% of rapes have been committed by foreigners in Finland, who comprise 2.2%[citation needed] of population.[4] In contrast, the rape support helpline Tukinainen reports that 6% of all callers and 11% of 10–20-year-old callers say that the rapist was a foreigner.[5] Finnish rapists are more likely to be known personally by the victim, increasing the threshold to report[citation needed]. Furthermore, there are great asymmetries between nationalities of rapists.[6][citation needed]

Financial crime

Finland has been known to give low sentences for financial crimes such as cartel behaviour, insider trading, and tax evasion. The sentences are especially low when compared with the potential benefits of committing such crimes, as well as when compared with international standards.[citation needed] An example of the difference between sentence and benefits is the 2006 case of Lemminkäinen Group. Lemminkäinen was hit with a €68,000,000 fine for cartel. This was markedly lower than the estimated €400,000,000 Lemminkäinen would have made, if it had received just 20% of the criminal profit. Executives were not sentenced to prison or fined for their involvement.

Examples of cartels in Finland include: Metsäliitto and Stora Enso who were sentenced €500,000 and Elisa which was sentenced €4,160,000 in 2001. The European Union has given much higher sanctions for cartels, as seen in the cases of UPM-Kymmene (€56,000,000), Outokumpu (€36,000,000), and Kemira (€33,000,000).

Fraud and embezzlement also occur. For example, in 2018 there was a scandal over IT supplies in schools in Helsinki[7]

Corruption

Further information: Corruption in Finland

Political corruption levels are extremely low and previously Finland was annually named the least corrupted country for years. The number of notices of corruption related crimes were lower than the murder rate in 2007—there were about 15 reports of bribery or attempted bribery annually.[8] In 2006, there were 115 reports of corruption. One-fourth of these involved seeking private gain. One-third of the cases were attempts to harm someone rather than seek gain. Between 2002 and 2007, no corporations were fined and no business prohibitions were imposed for committing bribery.

A campaign funding controversy that began in 2008 has eroded the confidence in the transparency of Finnish politics. Finland's Transparency International's Corruption Perceptions Index ranking has dropped to 5th place. The continuing controversy began with a remark by a Centre Party MP that he had not disclosed his funding sources because, despite the obligation, there was no punishment for avoiding it coded in the law. Later it was found a group of property developers had supported certain MPs of the three major parties (Centre Party, National Coalition and Social Democratic Party) allegedly to produce favorable zoning decisions.

Furthermore, MPs of the government-leading Centre Party had funneled public funds to party-associated foundations that had subsequently funded the personal campaigns of Centre Party politicians, including Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen. There are criminal investigations ongoing by the National Bureau of Investigation[citation needed]. Incomplete disclosure of funding sources was the problem of the two other major parties.

Organised crime

The Finnish National Bureau of Investigation is aware of the existence of approximately ninety criminal gangs with a total membership of around eight-hundred.[9] There are several competing motorcycle gangs in Finland. A historic rivalry between the Hells Angels and Bandidos erupted in the Nordic Biker War in the 1990s. Other international biker gangs operating in the country include the Diablos, Outlaws, Red Devils and Satudarah, as well as Cannonball, a prominent domestic organisation.[10]

Along with these motorcycle gangs, there are other criminal organisations without the same principles as in biker groups such as Bats, United Brotherhood and X-Team, a Bandidos sub-division.[11] United Brotherhood, a merger of the former Natural Born Killers, Rogues Gallery and M.O.R.E. gangs, utilizes the drug trade, financial crimes and security services as sources of income.[12] In 2013, the police raided a suspected United Brotherhood member's home and found 47 firearms, 18 of which were capable of sustained rapid fire, along with drugs, doping substances and jewellery. In 2018, 30 weapons including sub-machine guns were seized from the same group.[13] In 2019, a crackdown saw these gangs and any related clothing or symbols banned.[14]

Street gangs

A recent phenomenon affecting some major cities. [15]

Crime dynamics

Guns

Main article: Gun politics in Finland

Finland is an average European country in the terms of gun ownership, with about 1.5 million guns in register and 30 guns for every 100 people.[16] A bulk of this number consists of hunting weapons and there are only 220 000 pistols and revolvers on the register. A persistent myth claims that Finns would have the fourth most firearms in the world per capita (right after United States, Yemen, Switzerland), with around 45.3 guns for every 100 people.[17] This false number rises from the Small Arms Survey, which claimed in 2007 that there would be 800 000 unregistered guns in addition to the registered ones.[18] This claim has been since refuted and has no basis in reality according to the Finnish officials, who estimate the amount of illegal guns to be "in thousands", with a significant amount of them being over 80 years old war trophies.[19] Also, Finland registers OC sprays and other spray-based weapons with a gun license, adding to the gun ownership total. Many other European countries, such as Germany, do not require a license to carry an OC spray in public. Finland has a high incidence of gun related deaths including suicides, but in gun-related homicides, it is the fifth-ranking country in the EU.[20]

Guns and other weapons are tightly regulated. One must separately apply for a gun license, which cannot be issued for "self defense reasons". Even other weapons, such as pepper sprays, are regulated. Carrying weapons, including guns and knives in public is not allowed[citation needed]. "police have received about 230 reports annually of theft or aggravated theft involving firearms"[21]

Alcohol and criminality

The majority of criminals and victims of violent crime are under the influence of alcohol during the act. Statistics show that in homicides 61 to 75 percent, in attempted homicides 71 to 78 percent and in assaults 71 to 73 percent of the offenders have been under the influence of alcohol. During the last two decades the number of drunk offenders has increased. Roughly half of the crimes of theft involve the use of alcohol.[citation needed]

Immigration and crime

Immigrant crime in Finland became a topic of public debate in the 1990s-early 21st century period with the arrivals of Somalis in Finland.[22]

Offences against the Criminal Code by nationality in 2017-2018[23]
Origin Per 1000 citizens
Sweden
80.75
Iraq
70.07
Somalia
66.56
Estonia
56.97
Romania
48.79
Russia
42.14
Foreign countries' average
41.83
Finland
35.71
Source: Statistics Finland.[23]

A 2015 study found that immigrant youth had higher incidence rates in 14 out of 17 delinquent acts. The gap is small for thefts and vandalism, and no significant differences for shoplifting, bullying and use of intoxicants. According to the authors, "weak parental social control and risk routines, such as staying out late, appear to partly explain the immigrant youths' higher delinquency", and "the relevance of socioeconomic factors was modest".[24]

According to the American Bureau of Diplomatic Security, Estonians and Romanians were the two largest group of foreigners in Finnish prisons.[25]

According to 2014 official statistics, 24% of rapes are estimated to have been committed by individuals with foreign surnames in Finland.[26] For some context, foreign-language speakers and the foreign-born comprised roughly 6% of the Finnish population in 2014, meaning that the percentage of individuals with foreign surnames in Finland is at very least 6%.[27][28] There are great differences in representation between nationalities of rapists: while in 1998 there were no rapists hailing from Vietnam or China, there were many from other countries; 10 times more "foreign-looking" men were accused of rape than the overall percentage of foreigners in Finland.[29]

Drugs

The Finnish drug market is stable[citation needed], with cannabis type drugs most commonly used and seized by law enforcement agencies, while amphetamines, MDMA/ecstasy and other synthetic psychoactive substances and narcotic pharmaceuticals remain important. There is very low heroin use. Opioids are a significant part of the addiction market.[30] There is a large amount of smuggling of snuff called snus from Sweden.[31][32]

Around 6000 individuals have been identified in 2019 for buying goods from a dark web supplier, most probably drugs[33]

Statistics

[citation needed]

Offences recorded by the police(6)
1980 1990 2000 2016 per 1,000
people(5)
All offences 480,964 848,978 763,391 823,349 150.46
Offences against the Penal Code(1) 221,106 435,154 (4)530,270 466,857 103.28
Homicide 111 145 146 78 0.028
Assault 13,964 20,654 27,820 33,769 5.69
Theft and robbery 103,024 166,266 196,009 132,105 31.71
Drunk driving 20,436 29,759 22,783 17,308 5.15
Offences involving narcotics(2) 955 2,546 13,445 25,082 2.77
Traffic infractions (3)215,281 (3)367,571 (4)214,543 41.77
Offences against other Acts and Decrees 44,577 46,253 18,578 17,008 5.42

Punishment

The most common punishments are fines and probation. Community service is also a punishment. These are generally effective in preventing a repetition of an offence. The day fine system is in effect; this means, that if an offence warrants fines, they are calculated in proportion to the offender's income when this is higher than the minimum fine.

Lengths of prison sentences have increased in recent years, though Finnish prison terms are exceptionally short in the international context. Drug trafficking and manslaughter result in the longest prison sentences, of 8–12 years (15 years if multiple crimes), after premeditated murder. Although life sentences are given for murder, probation is given after 10 years at the earliest if the offender was under 21 years of age, otherwise 12 years is the minimum. People under 18 years cannot be sentenced to life sentence, but the maximum sentence is 15 years. There is also possibility of presidential amnesty at any time. Therefore, effective life sentences are enforced in only cases of involuntary commitment of murderers.[35]

The last time capital punishment was enforced in peacetime was in 1825 (see: Tahvo Putkonen). In the Finnish Civil War (1918) and in the 3 wars of World War II (1939–1945): Winter War, Continuation War and Lapland War capital punishment was enforced e.g. Arndt Pekurinen. The death penalty was abolished in 1971[citation needed].

Finland is more focussed on rehabilitation than retribution.[36]

Rate of incarceration

The average number of prisoners was 2 800 in 2020.[37]

Policing

Further information: Law enforcement in Finland

Finland has 130 police officers per 100,000 people. The United States has 298 per 100,000 and Germany has 372. In 2021, police officers accounted for 7 450 of the total police personnel.[38]

References

  1. ^ "Criminal convictions of district court confirmed and changed in the courts of appeal by Year, Court of appeal, District Court Judgment, Offence group and Information".
  2. ^ Martti Lehti, Janne Kivivuori. Rikollisuustilanne Suomessa — II.A.2. Oikeuspoliittinen tutkimuslaitos 2005. "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2008-03-08. Retrieved 2006-11-11.((cite web)): CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  3. ^ "Justice". Retrieved 2019-09-02.
  4. ^ Hannu Niemi. Rikollisuustilanne Suomessa — II.B.3. Oikeuspoliittinen tutkimuslaitos 2005. "Oikeuspoliittinen tutkimuslaitos - Rikollisuustilanne 2005". Archived from the original on 2007-05-02. Retrieved 2006-11-11.
  5. ^ "HS Home 22.8.2000 - Acts of sexual violence as reported to the Tukinainen Rape Crisis Centre helpline". www2.hs.fi. Archived from the original on 4 June 2011. Retrieved 17 January 2022.
  6. ^ Rapes by immigrants were about eight times higher than that of native Finns
  7. ^ Gerard O'Dwyer (2018-08-28). "Finland government to review public procurement laws". Computer Weekly. Retrieved 2023-03-04.
  8. ^ Keskusrikospoliisi. "Julkisen sektorin korruptioepäilyistä kirjattu vain vähän rikosilmoituksia" (in Finnish). Finnish Police. Archived from the original on 2009-04-25. Retrieved 2008-01-09.
  9. ^ Famous Cannonball motorcycle club dissolves – NBI: Ex-members may form new gang Yle (19 July 2017)
  10. ^ Outlaws och Shark Riders de senaste kriminella mc-gängen att etablera sig i Finland Henri Foss, Hufvudstadsbladet (16 October 2018)
  11. ^ Katso kartasta, mitkä rikollisorganisaatiot kokoontuvat kotikulmillasi – KRP: jengitilanne voimakkaassa muutoksessa United Brotherhoodin väliaikaisen toimintakiellon vuoksi Katri Kirsi, Yle (26 September 2020)
  12. ^ "Hämeenkoski: Drugs, weapons, money laundering and doping, all under the same roof". Yle.fi. 30 July 2013. Retrieved 24 December 2017.
  13. ^ "United Brotherhood gang members suspected of extortion, drug and gun offences". Yle.fi. 8 October 2018. Retrieved 12 December 2019.
  14. ^ "Police on alert for prohibited gang symbols". 27 January 2020.
  15. ^ "Jengien juuret". 18 December 2022.
  16. ^ ""Number of firearms declining"". Yle Uutiset (in Finnish). 18 January 2016. Retrieved 2020-06-07.
  17. ^ "Countries with the most guns list has some surprises". CBC. January 7, 2016.
  18. ^ "Small Arms Survey 2007". www.smallarmssurvey.org. Retrieved 2020-06-07.
  19. ^ Korhonen, Petri. "Myytinmurtajille töitä: Tämän takia Suomessa ei edelleenkään ole "aseita kuin Jemenissä"". Eräverkko.fi (in Finnish). Retrieved 2020-06-07.
  20. ^ ""Something terrible has happened": Does Finland need to wake up to its gun problem?". Retrieved 2019-12-08.
  21. ^ "Police in Finland see risk in thousands of "forgotten" firearms". Retrieved 2019-12-18.
  22. ^ Viljakainen, Miika; Lakka, Päivi (2018-12-15). "Iso selvitys ulkomaalaisten seksuaalirikollisuudesta – määrät, syyt, ratkaisukeinot". Ilta-Sanomat (in Finnish). Retrieved 2018-12-21. Maahanmuuttajien rikollisuus nousi puheenaiheeksi 1990-luvun alussa, kun ensimmäiset somalit tulivat Suomeen ja itärikollisuuden pelättiin räjähtävän käsiin.
  23. ^ a b "Statistics on offences and coercive methods" (PDF). Statistics Finland. 2019. Retrieved 22 November 2022.
  24. ^ Salmi, Venla; Kivivuori, Janne; Aaltonen, Mikko (2015-11-01). "Correlates of immigrant youth crime in Finland". European Journal of Criminology. 12 (6): 681–699. doi:10.1177/1477370815587768. ISSN 1477-3708. S2CID 142551581.
  25. ^ "Finland 2013 Crime and Safety Report". www.osac.gov. Retrieved 2016-06-09.
  26. ^ "Rikollisuustilanne 2014 – rikollisuuskehitys tilastojen ja tutkimusten valossa" (PDF) (in Finnish). University of Helsinki - Institute of Criminology and Legal Policy. p. 88. ISSN 2342-7779.
  27. ^ "Immigration to Finland". www.intermin.fi. Ministry of the Interior. Archived from the original on 2016-06-09. Retrieved 2016-06-09.
  28. ^ "Number of persons speaking national languages as their native language went down for the second year in a row" (PDF).
  29. ^ "Foreigners figure high in rape statistics". Archived from the original on 2012-03-14. When the victims file their accusations, as many as 17% of the women involved believed the rapist to be of foreign extraction. This is a pretty huge figure, given that there are only some 85,000 foreigners living in Finland, or just 1.65% of the population.
  30. ^ Finland Country Drug Report 2018 (Report). 2018. Retrieved 2018-08-21.
  31. ^ "Nuuskalle esitetty täystuontikielto ei lopettaisi sen käyttöä eikä kaupittelua, uskovat nuoret". 13 March 2023.
  32. ^ "Unelma nikotiinittomasta Suomesta on kallis lahja Ruotsille – nuuskarallista valuu noin sadan miljoonan euron verotulot länsinaapuriin". 16 March 2023.
  33. ^ Police launch thousands of investigations into suspected crimes on Finnish Silk Road (Report). 2019. Retrieved 2019-12-08.
  34. ^ "Tilastokeskus". Stat.fi. Retrieved 24 December 2017.
  35. ^ "The Criminal Code of Finland". Ministry of Justice, Finland. Retrieved 22 November 2022. Translation from Finnish. Legally binding only in Finnish and Swedish
  36. ^ "Open prisons in Finland are 'like a holiday camp' — but they seem to work". 18 February 2020.
  37. ^ "Tällaisia olivat Suomen vangit vuonna 2020".
  38. ^ "Ruotsista tuli murhien ja kranaatti-iskujen keskus, ja näitä virheitä Suomen pitäisi välttää – ruotsalaisekspertti: "Me olimme naiiveja"". 20 November 2021.

Other sources