Number of offences reported to the police in Helsinki decreased
If traffic offences are not taken into account, the offence type pursuant to the Criminal Code that experienced the largest decrease was property offences. The number of reported assault offences also decreased, and the clearance rate of assault offences increased, while the number of sex offences increased.
The number of property offences decreased by 12 per cent and the clearance rate of property offences increased by four per cent.
The property offences that experienced the largest decrease were thefts, frauds and petty thefts. However, the number of extortion offences – which are considered property offences for statistical purposes – increased due to, for instance, a security breach in psychotherapy centre Vastaamo that was detected in 2020. Cases of attempted extortion related to the Vastaamo security breach were still reported to the police in Helsinki early this year.
The number of assaults decreased by seven per cent and the clearance rate of assault offences increased by 13 per cent. Assaults in public places experienced the largest decrease, a little over 17 per cent.
The number of domestic abuse cases marginally decreased (by approximately 50 cases).
“Even though the statistics show a slight decrease in the number of domestic abuse cases, domestic abuse is still a major problem in Finnish society. It is a type of hidden criminality that often takes place within the walls of a home,” says Jari Koski, senior detective superintendent.
The police offers counselling to all victims of domestic abuse. The suspects are also offered the opportunity to participate in counselling to assist them in stopping the cycle of violence.
Three cases of homicide were reported to the police between January and June 2021, which is the exactly the same number as during the same period in 2020.
Sex offences increased by 60 per cent
The number of reported sex offences increased between January and June 2021, mostly due to an increase in the number of sexual harassment cases.
These figures are partially explained by a series of crimes where suspects using an electric scooter slapped passers-by in the buttocks or back. Information about the case has been previously publicized.
“The sex offence statistics for the Helsinki metropolitan region became even more grim this year. An increase in sex offences towards both adults and underaged children was reported. Sex offences towards underaged children, in particular, often take place online. The police’s ability to reveal such crimes is completely dependent on the number of available personnel,” senior detective superintendent Koski explains.
Marked decrease in narcotics offences
The number of narcotics offences decreased by approximately 1,000 cases. Unlawful use of narcotics experienced the largest decrease.
“Narcotics offences are a type of hidden criminality, and the figures in statistics are directly proportional to the police resources allocated to reveal these offences,” says Markku Heinikari, senior detective superintendent.
The statistics for January–June 2021 indicate that revealing the unlawful use of narcotics was not the police’s highest priority. Meanwhile, the number of recorded aggravated narcotics offences increased from the previous year. Therefore, it is not possible to draw any conclusion that the use of narcotics has decreased on the basis of the decreased number of cases of unlawful use of narcotics in the statistics.
Fewer emergency assignments
The number of urgency class A and B emergency assignments decreased as a whole, while the number of house calls increased, especially ones due to excessive noise.
The number of domestic violence assignments remained at the same level as during the same period of time in 2020. Here, the term “assignment” refers to the code the emergency response centre uses when assigning the task to the police.
“The number of domestic violence assignments increased in 2020 and has remained at the increased level throughout the pandemic. The increased number of house calls due to excessive noise is probably also the result of people having spent more time at home than during the years preceding the pandemic,” says Heikki Porola, superintendent.
Fewer traffic offences
The number of traffic offences decreased by seven per cent. The offences that experienced the largest decrease were operation of a vehicle without a licence, driving while intoxicated and causing a serious traffic hazard.
“The number of cases of driving while intoxicated, like the number of traffic offences in general, increased in Helsinki last autumn. The pandemic played a role here: the police had plenty of resources for traffic control, but now we have returned to the normal situation in terms of traffic control. This will cause the number of traffic offences to fall back to the normal level when compared to last autumn,” explains Jari Illukka, senior detective superintendent.
Considerably more passports were issued than last year
The police issued more than 6,400 more passports than during the same period last year. The number of issued identity cards also increased, by more than 6,300 pcs. All in all, the Helsinki Police Department issued a little over 12,600 more permits and licences of different types than during the same period last year.
The pandemic influenced the demand for passports. Many people did not renew their passports in 2020, which has caused some backlog this year.“
We have transferred resources to customer service from other duties whenever possible and also recruited new police officers. Regardless, the delay in booking an appointment has been long. Naturally, people have still had the opportunity to take care of urgent permit/licence issues by coming to the police station to queue, although we still discourage personal visits due to the pandemic,” says Pekka Kallio, superintendent.