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 increased markedly in the 2000s.

Bicycles the most common stolen objects

Only a small percentage of property crime is reported to the police. Offences against less valuable property, in particular, are much more common than police statistics suggest. The most common stolen objects are bicycles. In the 2000s, bicycle thefts constituted a third of all thefts committed against households. In the 2010s, this share became as high as fifty per cent.

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 498,000 traffic offences were committed in 2017 (does not include offences involving driving under the influence). A total of 224 persons were killed in traffic in 2017. The number of traffic fatalities was last as low as this in the 1940s. A fifth of traffic fatalities involve driving under the influence.

Homicides and alcohol closely connected

The number of homicides has fallen since the mid-1990s. Most victims and perpetrators of homicides are socially excluded, male alcoholics.

These offences are strongly related to instances of alcohol use. In 2017, a total of 73 homicides were committed in Finland. Adult men aged 25–60 and adult women aged 40–50 are at the highest risk of falling victim to homicide.

The homicide rate is significantly 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 2017 (Institute of Criminology and Legal Policy)