Property and traffic offences the most common types of crime

Nearly one million crimes or violations (minor offences) are reported to the police annually. About half of them are traffic violations. Of the other offences and violations, half are property crimes and a quarter are traffic offences.

Trends in types of crime depend not only on an actual increase or decrease in the number of offences, but also on how actively victims report offences to the police. The number of registered offences is also influenced by the effectiveness of law enforcement supervision and by the focus of supervision activities.

The most salient feature of recent decades has been the halt in the increase in the number of thefts and the decrease in the number of offences in general. On the other hand, the number of fraud cases has been increasing markedly since the beginning of the 2000s.

Bicycles the most common stolen objects

Bicycle thefts are the most common type of theft committed against households and individuals. However, after a long period of an upward trend, the number of bicycle thefts has levelled off or even started to decline. Additionally, the number of car burglaries has trended downwards since the early 2000s, and there has been a significant decrease in business burglaries as well.

Theft offences are more common in urban environments. In Uusimaa, the prevalence of theft offences is many times higher than in the rest of Finland. On a European scale, Finland is among those countries that have a low level of property crime.

Improvement in traffic safety

More than half of offences reported to the police were traffic offences. Three quarters of traffic offences are speed limit violations. About 510,000 traffic offences were committed in 2018 (does not include offences involving driving under the influence). In 2018, 226 persons were killed in traffic accidents. The last time that the number of traffic fatalities was this low was in the 1940s. About 13% of traffic fatalities involve driving under the influence.

Homicides and alcohol closely connected

In 2018, 95 violent offences that resulted in death were committed in Finland. The number of homicides increased by 28% from the previous year, but remained well below the average of the 1990s and the early 2000s. However, the almost continuous decline in the number of homicides over the last twenty years has ended.

Homicides in Finland most likely to occur during disputes between socially excluded, male alcoholics. These offences are strongly related to instances of alcohol use.
The homicide rate is lower in Finland than in Russia or the Baltic States, but higher than that of our western neighbours. The difference between Finland and the other Nordic countries is mainly due to alcohol-related offences committed by socially excluded, male alcoholics. Crime levels among members of Finland’s working population are at a similar level to the other Nordic countries.

Source: Crime report 2018 (Institute of Criminology and Legal Policy)