Property and traffic offences the most common types of crime

The number of offences recorded by the authorities has mainly declined over the past ten years. In 2020, however, the number of offences increased significantly from the previous year.

In 2020, the authorities recorded about 686,000 offences and violations, of which 543,429 were offences under the Criminal Code and 129,549 traffic violations. The number of violations decreased by 63 per cent, mainly because certain traffic violations result in an administrative sanction instead of fines.

The number of offences under the Criminal Code went up by 19 per cent compared to the previous year. Property crimes account for just under half of the total number of offences and traffic offences for about one quarter. 

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.

Property and traffic offences increased

In 2020, theft offences increased by almost 10 percent from the previous year (approximately 139,000 offences). This is an exception to the long-standing downward trend in theft offences, but the number has clearly decreased compared to the level in the early 1990s.

Bicycle thefts are the most common type of theft committed against households and individuals. The number of bicycle thefts started to increase in 2019 and 2020.

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.

About a quarter of the offences recorded by the police are traffic offences. In 2020, a total of 132,000 traffic offences were recorded, of which about 15 per cent were driving while intoxicated.
The numbers of driving while intoxicated remained largely unchanged in 2011–2020. However, over this period, the proportion of cases of driving while seriously intoxicated that were recorded by the authorities decreased from 53 per cent to 34 per cent. The number and proportion of drug-related cases of driving while intoxicated have clearly risen over the past ten years.

Homicides and alcohol closely connected

In 2020, 95 violent offences that resulted in death were committed in Finland. The number of these offences increased by 14 per cent from the previous year, but remained well below the average of the 1990s and early 2000s.

Homicides are 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 2020 (Institute of Criminology and Legal Policy)