Crime in Finland

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A Finnish policeman directing traffic in Turku.

Crime in Finland is combated by the Finnish police and other agencies.

Crime by type[edit]


In 2015, Finland had a murder rate of 1.28 per 100,000 population. There were a total of 70 murders in Finland in 2015.[1]

Half of murders involve men of marginalized groups (unemployed, undereducated, drug and alcohol problems) in heavy drinking situations. Thirty-five percent of homicides are committed by family members, and ten percent of homicides are classified as youth violence.[2]

Women constitute 10 percent of offenders and 25 percent of victims. The vast majority of female offenders target a husband or other family member. Twenty-three percent of homicide victims of male offenders were strangers. Fewer than 20 percent of murders are committed outdoors. Sixty percent of male and 30 percent of the female homicide offenders have been arrested for drunken driving at least once.[citation needed]

Firearms are used in 14 percent of the cases. Street shootings and gang violence are extremely rare. A few cases involving motorcycle gangs have occurred in recent years, attracting national attention.

Sexual violence[edit]

In 2005, 594 cases of rape (114 ppm), 380 cases of other sex crime and 946 cases of statutory rape were reported to the police.[3] According to official statistics, 27.0% of rapes have been committed by foreigners in Finland, who comprise 2.2% of population.[4] In contrast, the rape support helpline Tukinainen reports that 6% of all callers and 11% of 10–20-year-old callers say that the rapist was a foreigner.[5] Finnish rapists are more likely to be known personally by the victim, increasing the threshold to report. Furthermore, there are great asymmetries between nationalities of rapists.[6]

Financial crime[edit]

Finland has been known to give low sentences for financial crimes such as cartel behaviour, insider trading, and tax evasion. The sentences are especially low when compared with the potential benefits of committing such crimes, as well as when compared with international standards. An example of the difference between sentence and benefits is the case of Lemminkäinen in 2006. Lemminkäinen was hit with a €68,000,000 fine for cartel. This was markedly lower than the estimated €400,000,000 Lemminkäinen would have made if receiving just 20% of the criminal profit. Executives were not sentenced to prison or fined for their involvement.

Examples of cartels in Finland include: Metsäliitto and Stora Enso who were sentenced €500,000 and Elisa which was sentenced €4,160,000 in 2001. The European Union has given much higher sanctions for cartels, as seen in the cases of UPM-Kymmene (€56,000,000), Outokumpu (€36,000,000), and Kemira (€33,000,000).


Political corruption levels are extremely low and previously Finland was annually named the least corrupted country for years. The number of notices of corruption related crimes were lower than the murder rate in 2007—there were about 15 reports of bribery or attempted bribery annually.[7] In 2006, there were 115 reports of corruption. One fourth of these involved seeking private gain. One-third of the cases were attempts to harm someone rather than seek gain. Between 2002 and 2007, no corporations were fined and no business prohibitions were imposed for committing bribery.

A campaign funding controversy that began in 2008 has eroded the confidence in the transparency of Finnish politics. Finland's Transparency International's Corruption Perceptions Index ranking has dropped to 5th place. The continuing controversy began with a remark by a Centre Party MP that he had not disclosed his funding sources, because despite the obligation, there was no punishment for avoiding it coded in the law. Later it was found a group of property developers had supported certain MPs of the three major parties (Centre Party, National Coalition and Social Democratic Party) allegedly to produce favorable zoning decisions.

Furthermore, MPs of the government-leading Centre Party had funneled public funds to party-associated foundations that had subsequently funded the personal campaigns of Centre Party politicians, including Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen. There are criminal investigations ongoing by the National Bureau of Investigation. Incomplete disclosure of funding sources was the problem of the two other major parties.

Organized crime[edit]

The Obtshak, a consortium of the Estonian Mafia (principally of Russian groups ethnic or origins) and Russian Mafia is involved in prostitution, drug trafficking, financial crimes and security services in Finland.[8]

Finnish customs seized 54kg of amphetamine drug in the year 2014, most of the suspects were from Russia and Bulgaria.

There are several competing motorcycle gangs in Finland. Bandidos, Outlaws, Diablos Motorcycle Club and Hells Angels are international gangs, while Cannonball MC was founded in Finland in the year 1991. Along with these motorcycle gangs, there are other criminal organizations without the same principles as in motorcycle gangs and one of these is called United Brotherhood, a Finnish gang which united the gangs called Natural Born Killers , Rogues Gallery and M.O.R.E. together. Drug trade, financial crimes and security services are their sources of income.[9]

In 2013, the police raided a suspected United Brotherhood members home and found 47-firearms, 18 of which were capable of sustained rapid fire along with drugs, doping substances and jewelry. Suspects were a 38-year-old man and a 39-year-old woman.

Crime dynamics[edit]


Finns have the fourth most firearms in the world per capita (right after United States, Yemen, Switzerland) totalling 1.62 million registered privately owned firearms and 10,000–20,000 unregistered firearms.[10] Gun related homicides are rare, comprising 14% of the total number of homicides,[11] which is comparatively low.

Guns and other weapons are tightly regulated. One must separately apply for a gun license, which cannot be issued for "self defense reasons". Even other weapons, such as pepper sprays, are regulated. Carrying weapons, including guns and knives in public is not allowed.

Alcohol and criminality[edit]

The majority of criminals and victims of violent crime are under the influence of alcohol during the act. Statistics show that in homicides 61 to 75 percent, in attempted homicides 71 to 78 percent and in assaults 71 to 73 percent of the offenders have been under the influence of alcohol. During the last two decades the number of drunk offenders has increased. Roughly half of crimes of theft involve the use of alcohol.[citation needed]


Offences recorded by the police(6)
1980 1990 2000 2004 per 1,000
All offences 480,964 848,978 763,391 787,964 150.46
Offences against the Penal Code(1) 221,106 435,154 (4)530,270 540,867 103.28
Manslaughter, murder, homicide 111 145 146 144 0.028
Assault 13,964 20,654 27,820 29,806 5.69
Theft, robbery 103,024 166,266 196,009 166,095 31.71
Drunken driving 20,436 29,759 22,783 26,977 5.15
Offences involving narcotics(2) 955 2,546 13,445 14,486 2.77
Traffic infractions (3)215,281 (3)367,571 (4)214,543 218,723 41.77
Other offences 44,577 46,253 18,578 28,374 5.42
  • (1) From 1999 onwards, offences against the Penal code contain offences previously recorded under the Road Traffic Act.
  • (2) In the Penal Code as of 1994
  • (3) Traffic offences
  • (4) line across a time series shows substantial breaks in the homogeneity of a series
  • (5) Population of Finland by the end of year 2004 was 5,237,000
  • (6) these statistics are from official statistics Finland database,[12] but the numbers do not add up, so some data is missing.


The most common punishments are fines and probation. Community service is also a punishment. These are generally effective in preventing repetition of an offence. The day fine system is in effect; this means, that if an offence warrants fines, they are calculated in proportion to the offender's income, when this is higher than the minimum fine.

Lengths of prison sentences have increased in recent years, though Finnish prison terms are exceptionally short in the international context. Drug trafficking and manslaughter result in the longest prison sentences, of 8–9 years, after premeditated murder. Although life sentences are given for murder, probation is given after 10 years at the earliest, excluding the possibility of presidential amnesty. Therefore, effective life sentences are enforced in only cases of involuntary commitment of murderers.

The last time capital punishment was enforced in peacetime is in 1825 (see: Tahvo Putkonen). In the Finnish Civil War (1918) and in the wars of World War II (1939–1945) capital punishment was enforced. The death penalty was abolished in 1971.

Rate of incarceration[edit]

In 2004 there were on average 3,577 prisoners serving a sentence (68 prisoners per 100,000 people). The average prisoner age was 35. Since 1999 the number of prisoners has risen 30 per cent. The average length of sentence until release was 7.8 months.


Finland has 147 police officers per 100,000 people. The United States has 243 per 100,000 and Germany has 290. In 2004, police officers accounted for 7,718 of the total police personnel.


  1. ^ [1][dead link]
  2. ^ Martti Lehti, Janne Kivivuori. Rikollisuustilanne Suomessa — II.A.2. Oikeuspoliittinen tutkimuslaitos 2005. "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2008-03-08. Retrieved 2006-11-11. 
  3. ^ Heini Kainulainen. Rikollisuustilanne Suomessa — II.A.4.1. Oikeuspoliittinen tutkimuslaitos 2005. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2007-05-02. Retrieved 2006-11-11. 
  4. ^ Hannu Niemi. Rikollisuustilanne Suomessa — II.B.3. Oikeuspoliittinen tutkimuslaitos 2005. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2007-05-02. Retrieved 2006-11-11. 
  5. ^ [2][dead link]
  6. ^ [3][dead link]
  7. ^ Keskusrikospoliisi. "Julkisen sektorin korruptioepäilyistä kirjattu vain vähän rikosilmoituksia" (in Finnish). Finnish Police. Retrieved 2008-01-09. 
  8. ^ "Police seize 54kg of amphetamines, uncover smuggling ring". Retrieved 24 December 2017. 
  9. ^ "Hämeenkoski: Drugs, weapons, money laundering and doping, all under the same roof". Retrieved 24 December 2017. 
  10. ^ [4][dead link]
  11. ^ "Finland moves to tighten gun laws". BBC News. 2007-11-09. Retrieved 2010-04-30. 
  12. ^ "Tilastokeskus". Retrieved 24 December 2017. 

Other sources[edit]

External links[edit]