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Number of crimes brought to Police attention are down but investigations are prolonged
During January to June of the current year, the Police was informed of approximately 227 000 crimes nationwide. This is about four percent down from the same months last year.
Although the overall number of crimes under the penal code is lower, compared to the situation in 2020, there is, however, increase in sexual crimes, extortions and traffic crimes.
At the same time, the investigation times have got about 17 days longer, on average.
- There are several reasons explaining the prolonged investigation times. For example, the heavy and gross crimes continue to grow, calling for demanding investigative measures. The volume of cybercrime has also grown. In almost all crime cases, there is also digital evidence material, and the technical investigation takes time, Deputy National Police Commissioner Sanna Heikinheimo of the National Police Board comments on the statistics.
The travel restrictions have also contributed to the smaller number of foreigners reported as injured parties or suspects, compared to the same period of time last year.
- It remains to be seen whether the lifting of the restrictions will cause a flood of people taking off at the same time, subsequently perhaps reflected in rapid growth in policing tasks and crimes, Deputy Police Commissioner Heikinheimo adds.
Drug-related crimes decrease but use of drugs expected to increase
The number of drug crimes known to the Police decreased from last year by 27 percent.
The numbers of drug-related crimes in the Police records may vary significantly from year to year if the Police detects larger crime entities with several individual crimes and suspects. Such larger entities include the cases where online drug trafficking has been detected.
- Despite the decreasing volume of drug crimes known to the Police, the drug crimes detected by the Police and the Customs indicate that drug use is on the increase, she says.
This conclusion is also supported by the regularly made questionnaires on drug consumption and the wastewater analysis performed in larger cities by the Institute for Health and Welfare (THL).
HAnother factor pointing towards an increase in drug use is the growing share of drug users among of those driving under the influence of intoxicants. As late as two years ago, 50 percent of driving under the influence was caused by drinking, but today drunken driving due to alcohol only accounts for less than half of all cases.
House calls continue to keep Police busy
House calls show approximately four percent growth, compared to January to June last year.
According to Sanna Heikinheimo, COVID-19 and the ensuing restaurant and other restrictions are the main reason.
- The Police performing their tasks encounter mental ill-being and insecurity caused by the pandemic, also seen in the form of violent behaviour and exceptional disorderly conduct. The number of house calls is closely monitored and during the calls, the Police pays special attention to the situation of the children in the homes. As the pandemic situation continues and local restrictions prevail, the number of house calls is expected to remain at a high level.
Sexual crime and extortions have increased
In January to June 2021, almost 2 500 sexual crimes were reported to the Police. Compared to same period last year, the increase is 25%. The number includes sexual harassment, rape and sexual abuse of minors.
Over a longer term, the number of rape crimes reported to the Police has continued to grow. The numbers of sexual abuse of minors have varied, but in 2020 the reports were significantly more numerous than usual, and the number in the early part of this year seems to be higher than during the corresponding period last year.
The lockdown that started in March 2020 may have caused lower numbers last year, while this spring people started to move about and do things more actively, and this may have impacted the increase this year.
The number of extortions also continues to grow, with about 700 cases more reported to the Police, compared to the same months last year. The growth in extortions is explained by those of the customers of the psychotherapy centre Vastaamo.
During the past year, both companies and public sector organisation have been victims of global extortion campaigns with malware and denial-of-service (DoS) attacks, for the purpose of extorting money from the targeted organisation, possibly also through a threat of leaking the information obtained through hacking.
Drastic growth in overall traffic crime – especially young people’s traffic behaviour raises concerns
Traffic crime has grown this year. Although the COVID-19 pandemic has cut the volume of traffic on our roads, the total volume of traffic crime grew by eight percent.
Endangering of traffic safety has been in particular growth, with the numbers increasing as much as 25 percent from last year. The traffic policing sector has also been busy with speed controls, cruising controls and moped and motorbike traffic that increased as spring started.
- The Police has been able to slightly increase traffic control operations, and especially the policing time targeted at heavy traffic. Traffic crime is a form of hidden criminality – more controls result in higher statistics. In terms of traffic safety, it is positive that we have been able to detect more serious traffic crimes, Sanna Heikinheimo says.
Increase in permit service demand – situation slowly levelling off
Demand of permit services has increased. The demand of ID cards has shown a particularly rapid growth. The number of issued ID cards is considerably higher than in January to June 2020; the nation-wide increase is about 32 percent.
People are also applying for passports more actively now, and Police stations may face overly busy times during the summer months. With the summer now in full swing, public events are also starting.