First part of year shows significant growth in crime committed by young suspects

Publication date 21.8.2023 16.17
News item

In the first part of the year, the robberies committed by young suspects increased by almost 40 percent while the number of assaults was about one fourth higher than in the same period the year before.

The drunken driving by the young was about nine percent up, and, for example, the numbers of aggravated endangerment of road traffic were over one fourth higher.


- Most young people behave well. However, the reality also includes marginalisation, the crime committed by the young, street gangs, aggravated endangerment of road traffic and intoxicants, and these factors are visible, not only in the public discussions but also in the everyday of the Police, Deputy National Police Commissioner Sanna Heikinheimo points out.


Young people have criminal liability for their acts as of the age of 15 years. The number of violent crimes, and especially robberies, committed by the young has grown to a worrying extent during the past few years. The number of crimes committed by underage suspects has doubled since the year 2015. The serious criminality of the young is also partly associated with street gangs.


Last year, about ten thousand violent crimes, in other words assaults, robberies and homicides,  committed by the young people under 21 were registered. The number is about one fourth (23%) up from the previous year.


The first part of this year has also seen a rapid growth in the numbers. The robberies with the suspect under 15 years of age were 48% up and the number for those of the 15 to 17 years olds was 53% higher than in the corresponding period in the previous year.

Graph: Violent crimes (assaults, homicides and robberies) committed by young suspects in 2021-2023 by quarters and age groups.

In January to June, the Police registered about five thousand violent crimes with the suspects under 21 years of age, which is one fourth (26%) more than in the corresponding period last year. The growth in the age group of under-15-years-olds was 28 percent while the corresponding percentage for those between 15 and 17 was 38%.

Graph: Violent assaults committed by young suspects in 2021-2023 by quarters and age groups.

Graph: Violent assaults committed by young suspects in 2021-2023 by quarters and age groups.


More multiprofessional preventive work is required


According to the analysis made last year by the National Bureau of Investigation, the increase in the youth criminality could not be associated with any particular population group, area, phenomenon or place of the event. Despite the uniform development, the level of crime by the young with a foreign background is, however, clearly more elevated compared to the young with a Finnish background.


- Trying the limits is also part of being young, but committing crime or fear of falling victim of crime should not be part of anyone’s youth. Here, the Police currently sees a worrying development, Chief Superintendent Pekka Heikkinen underlines.


- Part of the young are feeling even worse than before, they are in danger of getting marginalised and drifting towards a criminal path that, at worst, may lead to street gangs and further to organised crime.

The crimes with suspects under 15 years, also heard for investigation purposes, have likewise increased in Southeast Finland.


- The preventive work by the Police and other stakeholders is increasingly necessary, also outside pretrial investigation, already before the first steps on the criminal path are taken. Research also shows that early intervention is most efficient, Chief Inspector Markus Purtanen adds.


- Domestic violence and the crimes committed by the young are focused on in the meetings of regional security programme teams. Follow-up and cooperation by the various authorities is the best way to address the root causes of social malaise so that the largest possible part of the young could lead a safe everyday life.


In first part of year two thousand young persons suspected of driving under the influence 


The Police is also worried about the traffic behaviour of the young. In the first part of the year, the number of suspected cases of driving under the influence committed by the young between 15 and 24 years grew by nine percent. The number of cases was almost two thousand.


In July alone, the drug related cases of the young between 18 and 20 years of age driving under the influence of drugs grew by 36 percent, compared to July last year.


Aggravated endangerment of traffic safety committed by those under 18 grew by over one fourth.


- The accidents of young drivers are often associated with speeding, driving under the influence, not using the safety equipment or going off the road, but these factors are rather expressions of actions by the young people, conditioned by other root causes, Deputy Assistant Police Commissioner Pasi Rissanen points out.


- They need to be addressed through multiprofessional solutions, related to both mental health services, school teaching and the re-evaluation of current drivers’ licence practices.


Police invites to discussions about young people’s situation


On August 26, which is the last Saturday of the month, the Police organises the Police Day events by inviting the public to discuss the young people’s situation and neighbourhood security.


The information on the events is available at



The National Bureau of Investigation has compiled the statistics of violent crime, using the data in the Police information system on 7 August 2023. The data only includes the information where the suspect has been recognised, and the data will change, especially as concerns the year 2023.

The term “young person” is quite extensive, and also legislation refers to different age groups in different contexts. Here, the concept refers to the young under 21 years of age because the Act on Establishing the Situation of the Young Suspects (633/2010) uses the term “a young offender” referring to those between 15 and 20. Since significant changes have been observed in the violent crimes as concerns young people under 15 years of age, the discussion also includes this group.

The traffic crime statistics compiled by the National Police Board include the young between 15 and 24 years of age.

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