Published: 16 May 2019

Foreigners more often suspects of offences than Finns

According to Statistics Finland's data, 443,500 offences against the Criminal Code were recorded by the police, customs and border guard during 2018. There were 297,600 persons suspected of 273,600 solved offences against the Criminal Code of whom 34,200 were foreigners. According to age and gender standardised figures for 2017 and 2018, foreigners are suspected of offences 1.2 times more often than Finns.

Foreign males suspected of offences compared to Finnish males*

Foreign males suspected of offences compared to Finnish males*
*How many times more often is a foreign male is suspected compared to Finnish male (Finland=1). Only suspects permanently resident in Finland. Asylum seekers do not belong to the permanent population of Finland

Persons suspected of solved offences are in statistics on offences included as many times as he/she has been a suspect of the same or different offence during the year. Therefore, direct comparison between different nationalities is difficult. Suspects can also be calculated based on the principle offence rule, but this would leave numerous smaller offences invisible.

The following presents the number of suspects so that the suspect is included once per year for the same offence. In other words, if the same person has committed two assaults and one rape, he/she is here included as a suspect for both assault and rape. Once for both. The numbers are also age and gender standardised to adjust for the difference in age structure among different nationalities.

The number of suspects by offence and nationality have been calculated for 2017 and 2018. In the table, age and sex standardised numbers by nationality per 1,000 persons have been calculated. Only suspects permanently resident in Finland are included.

During 2017 and 2018, foreign citizens were suspected of offences against the Criminal Code 1.2 times more often than Finns. Swedish citizens were suspected 2.3 times more often than Finns and Iraqi citizens 2 times more often.

The difference is even greater for some types of offences. For example, in drug offences, Somali men are suspect 3.4 times more often than Finnish men. In case of sexual offences, Iraqi men are suspects 12.8 times more often than Finnish men. These figures have been derived by dividing the share of foreign citizens with the corresponding figure for Finnish citizens from the table below.

In 2017 and 2018, altogether 2,378 Finnish men were suspects of sexual offences and 122 Iraqi men. This only concerns suspected offences, which the police have moved to consideration of charges. This does not necessarily result in a charge or judgement. An offence committed by a casual acquaintance or a stranger is easier to report to the police than, for example, an offence committed by one’s spouse.

For women, the differences between nationalities is not so clear, although foreigners are suspects of offences somewhat more often than Finns. For example, in property offences Swedish citizens are suspects 2.6 times more often than Finns. Especially in an examination by age group, the number of suspects and the number of representatives of a nationality can be low, so individual cases are emphasised. Asylum seekers are not part of the permanent population, so the offences they commit are not included.

The table shows age and gender standardised figures of suspects by nationality. For example, in 2017 and 2018, in total 35.7 Finns per 1,000 Finnish citizens were suspected of offences against the Criminal Code and 41.8 foreigners per 1,000 foreign citizens. So, foreign citizens were suspected of offences 1.2 more often than Finnish citizens. Standardization has been carried out so that the age and gender group-specific figures for each nationality have been multiplied by the age and gender-specific population shares of the entire population. The number of suspects has been multiplied by these weighting coefficients.

Persons suspected of certain offences by nationality and sex in 2017 and 2018, gender and age standardised share per 1.000 citizens

  Total Finnish Foreign countries Iraq Somalia Romania Estonia Sweden Russia
Total Offences against the Criminal Code 35.98 35.71 41.83 70.07 66.56 48.79 56.97 80.75 42.14
Offences against property 8.81 8.74 11.18 18.67 20.71 15.56 14.77 26.26 12.42
Total of thefts 3.89 3.86 5.36 8.76 11.69 6.79 7.11 10.88 5.61
Offences against life and health 3.61 3.52 5.40 12.64 11.55 6.80 5.35 8.01 4.24
Assaults total 3.27 3.17 5.10 12.33 11.24 6.45 4.97 7.32 3.86
Sexual offences 0.27 0.23 0.87 2.95 1.65 - 0.38 0.76 0.31
Sexual abuse of a child 0.09 0.08 0.25 0.90 0.44 - - - -
Rape 0.11 0.08 0.46 1.31 0.45 - 0.26 - -
Narcotics offences total 3.06 3.07 2.97 3.80 9.25 - 4.18 8.11 2.98
Male Offences against the Criminal Code 28.84 28.53 34.34 60.28 59.51 39.37 47.44 64.18 33.38
Offences against property 6.65 6.60 8.15 13.51 19.15 9.77 11.40 19.74 8.64
Total of thefts 2.76 2.75 3.65 5.55 10.90 5.53 5.35 7.80 3.76
Offences against life and health 2.89 2.80 4.34 10.70 8.58 6.19 4.37 6.04 3.37
Assaults total 2.63 2.54 4.11 10.39 8.30 6.02 4.06 5.62 3.03
Sexual offences 0.27 0.23 0.87 2.95 1.65 - 0.38 0.76 0.31
Sexual abuse of a child 0.09 0.08 0.25 0.90 0.44 - - - -
Rape 0.11 0.08 0.46 1.31 0.45 - 0.26 - -
Narcotics offences total 2.61 2.61 2.66 3.77 8.97 - 3.73 6.45 2.45
Female Offences against the Criminal Code 7.14 7.18 7.49 9.79 7.05 9.42 9.53 16.57 8.76
Offences against property 2.16 2.14 3.03 5.16 1.56 5.79 3.37 6.52 3.78
Total of thefts 1.13 1.11 1.71 3.21 0.79 - 1.76 3.08 1.85
Offences against life and health 0.72 0.72 1.06 1.94 2.97 - 0.98 1.97 0.87
Assaults total 0.64 0.63 0.99 1.94 2.94 - 0.91 1.70 0.83
Sexual offences 0.00 0.00 - - - - - - -
Sexual abuse of a child 0.00 0.00 - - - - - - -
Rape - - - - - - - - -
Narcotics offences total 0.45 0.46 0.31 - - - 0.45 1.66 0.53

The table below shows the number of persons suspected of an offence in 2017 and 2018 by nationality without age and gender standardisation.

Persons suspected of certain offences against the Criminal Code by nationality in 2017 and 2018, total

  Total Finnish Foreign countries Iraq Somalia Romania Estonia Sweden Russia
Offences against the Criminal Code 396,750 368,497 28,253 2,858 1,456 413 7,121 1,333 2,728
Offences against property 97,193 90,132 7,061 691 460 105 1,738 407 787
Total of thefts 43,028 39,819 3,209 273 256 51 813 161 350
Offences against life and health 39,668 35,982 3,686 523 250 55 671 135 277
Assaults total 36,145 32,657 3,488 510 242 51 621 124 253
Sexual offences 2,999 2,428 571 122 37 2 37 12 18
Sexual abuse of a child 1,026 871 155 39 12 0 8 7 5
Rape 1,284 998 286 63 12 2 21 3 9
Narcotics offences total 33,694 31,540 2,154 194 196 9 490 138 203

Tables by age and gender can be found in the appendices.

However, Finns are suspected of 264,500 offences or 88.5 per cent of all solved offences against the Criminal Code. Detailed information on reported offences and persons suspected of offences, as well as victims of offences, can be found in the reviews of this publication and in the Statfin database.


Source: Statistics on offences and coercive measures 2018, Offences reported. Statistics Finland

Inquiries: Kimmo Haapakangas 029 551 3252, rikos@stat.fi

Director in charge: Jari Tarkoma

Publication in pdf-format (676.7 kB)

Reviews
Tables

Tables in databases

Appendix tables


Updated 16.5.2019

Referencing instructions:

Official Statistics of Finland (OSF): Statistics on offences and coercive measures [e-publication].
ISSN=2342-9178. 13 2018. Helsinki: Statistics Finland [referred: 23.5.2019].
Access method: http://www.stat.fi/til/rpk/2018/13/rpk_2018_13_2019-05-16_tie_001_en.html