1. Review on offences recorded by the police, customs and border guard

Thefts, frauds and sexual offences on the rise, traffic offences and infractions falling in 2019

1.1. Summary

A total of 818,500 offences and infractions were recorded in 2019 by the police, customs and border guard, which was 6.3 per cent fewer than one year before. Of these offences and infractions, 452,700 were offences against the Criminal Code. Their number increased by 2.1 per cent from the previous year. Most offences outside the Criminal Code consist of traffic infractions, violations of social welfare legislation on road traffic and motor vehicle infractions. Altogether, 334,400 cases of exceeding speed limits were reported, which is 13.5 per cent fewer than in the year before.

Figure 1 Offences against the Criminal Code 1980 to 2019

Figure 1 Offences against the Criminal Code 1980 to 2019
*After 2016 not all of the Traffic offences are reported to prosecutor

Most of the offences and infractions are recorded by the police. The police recorded 805,300 offences and infractions in 2019, which was 6.2 per cent fewer than one year before. Offences against the Criminal Code increased by 2.3 per cent. A total of 444,000 of them were recorded.

The customs recorded 7,900 offences and infractions of which 6,400 were offences against the Criminal Code. The border guard recorded 5,400 offences and infractions of which 2,400 were offences against the Criminal Code. Offences and infractions recorded by the customs decreased by 11.5 per cent and those recorded by the border guard decreased by 8.8 per cent.

During 2019, the police, customs and border guard solved a total of 648,300 offences and infractions, which is 6.7 per cent lower than in 2018. The clearance rate for all offences and infractions fell by 0.3 percentage points.

1.2 Offences against property

Recorded number of offences against property turned upwards

A total of 216,000 offences against property were recorded in 2019, which is 4.4 per cent more than in the previous year.

The recorded number of theft offences (Criminal Code, Chapter 28, Sections 1-3) was 126,900, which was good three per cent (4,200 cases) more than in 2018. The number of aggravated thefts (Criminal Code, Chapter 28, Section 2) was 2,800, which is nearly seven per cent lower than in 2018. The number of petty thefts (Criminal Code, Chapter 28, Section 3) grew by nearly three per cent (1,700 cases) and theft offences (Criminal Code, Chapter 28, Section 1) increased by nearly five per cent (2,700 cases) compared with the previous year. In all, 62,900 petty thefts and 61,200 thefts were reported. Compared to the beginning of the twenty-first century, the number of theft offences has fallen by good 30 per cent.

Altogether, 47,700 thefts and petty thefts from shops were recorded, which is 4.6 per cent more than in the year before.

Figure 2. Thefts 2000 to 2019

Figure 2. Thefts 2000 to 2019

In 2019, the number of reported burglaries (thefts, aggravated thefts or petty thefts through unlawful breaking in) was 29,900, which was 1,600 cases (5.8 per cent) more than in the year before. The number of burglary offences has been falling throughout the 2010s apart for a couple of exceptional years. Break-ins into cars have decreased especially much as their number has almost halved. In 2019, a total of 7,500 break-ins into cars were recorded, which is nearly 500 more than in the previous year.

The number of break-ins into houses reported was 3,300, which is 10 per cent fewer than in the previous year. The number of break-ins into free-time residences recorded was 1,200, which was the same as in 2018. The numbers of these offences vary much yearly but the general trend in the 2010s has been decreasing.

Figure 3. Burglaries 2009 to 2019

Figure 3. Burglaries 2009 to 2019

In total, 5,700 cases of stealing of a motor vehicle for temporary use (Criminal Code, Chapter 28, Section 9), aggravated stealing of a motor vehicle for temporary use and petty stealing of a motor vehicle for temporary use were recorded, which is good one per cent lower than in the year before.

Table 1. Thefts of use of a motor vehicle 2010-2019

  2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019
Total 8,786 9,464 6,821 6,126 5,953 5,878 5,253 4,868 4,540 4,333
Car 6,045 5,996 4,335 3,645 3,511 3,712 3,253 2,937 2,893 2,758
Moped 1,770 2,116 1,631 1,560 1,524 1,240 1,088 929 795 776
Motorcycle 654 1,021 629 656 681 722 694 770 623 562
Boat/vessel 39 32 31 34 19 19 21 34 22 20
Other motor vehicle 278 299 195 231 218 185 197 198 207 217

Altogether, 1,800 robberies (Criminal Code, Chapter 31, Sections 1-2, 2a) were recorded, which is slightly over six per cent more than in the year before. Of the robberies, 347 were aggravated, which is 44 cases more than in 2018. Nearly two-thirds of robberies occurred in public places.

The number of property offences recorded was 30,500, which was the same as in 2018. Reports of damages to property in public places decreased most. They decreased by close on two per cent. In turn, damages to property committed in a private place increased by good two per cent.

The number of reported frauds (Criminal Code, Chapter 36, Sections 1-3) has been growing for a few years. The number of reported frauds was 28,700, which is 4,200 cases (17 per cent) more than in the previous year. In all, 6,300 means of payment frauds (Criminal Code, Chapter 37, Sections 8-11) were reported, which is nearly 200 cases (three per cent) more than in the previous year.

Examined by region, most offences against property were reported in Uusimaa, both measured in the number of cases and relative to the size of the population. The offences are recorded based on the municipality where the offence occurs, not the municipality of residence of the suspect, so offences committed by tourists and other visitors are visible in the figures for that region.

Table 2. Selected offences against property by region per 100,000 population in 2019

  Offences against property Theft 28:1 Aggravated theft 28:2 Petty theft 28:3 Breaking into a residence Breaking into a summer residence Robberies total Damages to property total
Whole country 3,946 1,112 52 1,141 61 22 33 553
Uusimaa 4,827 1,509 70 1,445 68 10 49 638
Southwest Finland 3,652 1,051 43 1,081 52 15 27 490
Satakunta 2,955 883 45 703 61 23 18 470
Kanta-Häme 3,371 930 54 919 54 32 26 605
Pirkanmaa 3,816 1,190 58 1,160 73 25 31 575
Päijät-Häme 4,712 1,499 54 1,030 66 30 29 599
Kymenlaakso 3,798 887 51 856 63 32 23 518
South Karelia 4,025 801 36 1,105 63 16 24 597
South Savo 2,849 808 34 745 69 51 15 452
North Savo 3,290 849 42 1,085 54 28 27 579
North Karelia 2,722 638 19 921 27 12 19 430
Central Finland 3,358 1,093 50 921 73 55 29 450
South Ostrobothnia 1,993 440 29 652 42 25 18 378
Ostrobothnia 2,851 833 47 855 50 24 16 483
Central Ostrobothnia 2,433 399 21 1,026 38 13 16 398
North Ostrobothnia 3,456 859 36 1,259 53 26 32 490
Kainuu 3,105 517 19 1,271 46 25 18 618
Lapland 3,110 627 30 900 44 27 23 570
Åland 2,192 569 70 612 77 10 10 495

1.3 Violence and sexual offences

Number of reported sexual offences on the rise in 2019

In all, 72 suspected offences against life were reported. This is 13 cases fewer than in 2018 and the lowest figure in the 2000s. The number of offences against life has primarily been on the decline. Between 2010 to 2019, an average of 91 cases per year have been recorded while between 2000 and 2009 the average was 128. Four out of five offences were committed in private dwellings or some other private location. The number of offences against life in 2015 included 12 murders made with terrorist intent abroad, which the Finnish police were investigating. Of the offences against life recorded in 2017, two were murders made with terrorist intent. Altogether, 329 attempted homicides were recorded, which is 26 cases fewer than in the year before.

In 2018, a total of 33,800 assaults were reported which is 200 cases more than in 2017. In the 2010s, an average of 35,000 assaults have been recorded per year. The number of basic assaults increased by 2.3 per cent. In all, 23,700 such assaults were reported. The number of aggravated assaults went down by 1.6 per cent. A total of 1,600 of them were recorded. The number of petty assaults recorded was 8,600, which is 3.4 per cent fewer than in the previous year. The legislative amendment, which entered into force at the beginning of 2011, considerably increased the number of assault offences recorded in 2011. After the legislative amendment, petty assaults on minors or close relatives became officially prosecutable. In 2011, the number of assault offences recorded was 40,200.

A total of 1,477 rapes (rape, aggravated rape, rape, Paragraph 3) were recorded, which is six per cent more than in the year before. Of all rape offences, nearly 90 per cent were committed in private dwellings or some other private location. The recorded number of sexual abuses of a child was 1,709, which is 24.5 per cent more than in 2018. The number is higher than in 2011 to 2013, when an exceptionally large number of sexual abuses of a child were recorded. The act on aggravated rape of a child entered into force on 15 April 2019. During 2019, a total of 34 cases of aggravated rape of a child were reported. In the statistics, aggravated rape of a child is included in the figures on cases of sexual abuse of a child. In addition, 1,119 other sexual offences were reported. Of them, 518 were cases of sexual harassment, which is six cases more than in 2018. Sexual harassment was added to the Criminal Code on 1 September 2014. The numbers of rapes and sexual abuses of a child vary much yearly. Individual reports may include a series of incidents comprising several criminal acts.

Table 3. Selected violent offences by region per 100,000 population in 2019

  Offences against life and health Offences against life and attempted Assault 21:5 Aggravated assault 21:6 Petty assault 21:7
Whole country 658 7 431 29 156
Uusimaa 722 8 503 25 147
Southwest Finland 601 4 359 25 174
Satakunta 584 6 342 28 158
Kanta-Häme 592 10 353 34 155
Pirkanmaa 624 8 391 27 166
Päijät-Häme 582 8 390 25 135
Kymenlaakso 623 6 393 42 146
South Karelia 677 5 373 26 236
South Savo 627 6 372 27 191
North Savo 708 18 392 36 237
North Karelia 494 6 292 27 131
Central Finland 779 7 551 38 142
South Ostrobothnia 543 7 369 26 116
Ostrobothnia 523 6 329 32 119
Central Ostrobothnia 701 6 475 26 175
North Ostrobothnia 568 5 394 31 113
Kainuu 871 10 604 33 192
Lapland 690 6 437 35 170
Åland 649 10 402 27 167

Relative to the population in the region, most sexual offences were reported in Kainuu, 105 cases per 100,000 inhabitants. Most cases of sexual abuse of a child relative to the population were reported in Uusimaa. There a total of 635 sexual abuses of children were reported, that is, 38 cases per hundred thousand inhabitants.

Table 4. Sexual offences by region per 100,000 population in 2019

  Sexual offences Sexual abuse of a child Rape Other sexual offences
Whole country 78 31 27 20
Uusimaa 92 38 30 25
Southwest Finland 59 22 19 18
Satakunta 70 22 20 28
Kanta-Häme 52 19 21 12
Pirkanmaa 79 30 31 19
Päijät-Häme 66 26 25 15
Kymenlaakso 83 31 30 22
South Karelia 63 29 20 14
South Savo 63 28 21 14
North Savo 63 21 25 18
North Karelia 61 20 25 17
Central Finland 81 31 27 23
South Ostrobothnia 66 34 17 14
Ostrobothnia 63 24 20 19
Central Ostrobothnia 57 19 29 9
North Ostrobothnia 77 35 26 16
Kainuu 105 35 53 18
Lapland 65 24 25 16
Åland 94 37 37 20

1.4 Traffic offences and infractions

In 2019, a total of 110,600 traffic offences were recorded, which is 4.9 per cent fewer than in the year before. In addition, 351,700 traffic infractions, violations of social welfare legislation on road traffic, and motor vehicle infractions were recorded. Of all traffic offences and infractions, 334,400 were cases of exceeding speed limits. Their number fell by 13.5 per cent from the previous year.

The number of cases of drunken driving decreased after a few years of growth. In 2019, a total of 18,500 cases of drunken driving were recorded, which is 500 cases (2.7 per cent) fewer than in the previous year. Altogether, 11,700 basic drunken driving cases (Criminal Code, Chapter 23, Section 3) were recorded, which is unchanged from the year before. Altogether, 6,800 cases of driving while seriously intoxicated (Criminal Code, Chapter 23, Section 4) were recorded, which is 6.6 per cent fewer than in the year before.

Figure 4. Drunken driving offences in 1980–2019

Figure 4. Drunken driving offences in 1980–2019

In cases of driving while seriously intoxicated, alcohol is still the intoxicant in around 90 per cent of cases, but more than one-half of the cases of driving while intoxicated are caused by other narcotic substances.

Figure 5. Drunken driving offences after intoxicant in 2003–2019

Figure 5. Drunken driving offences after intoxicant in 2003–2019

Close on 300 waterway, air or rail traffic intoxication cases were recorded, which is approximately 3.8 per cent fewer than in the year before. Forty-three cases of non-motor powered traffic intoxication was recorded.

1.5 Narcotics and alcohol offences

Recorded narcotics offences still growing

Altogether, 32,300 narcotics offences were recorded, which is 10.9 per cent more than in the year before. A total of 1,550 aggravated narcotics offences were recorded, which is 300 cases more than in the previous year. In total, 21,100 unlawful uses of narcotics were recorded, which is 1,800 cases (9.3 per cent) more than in the previous year.

In all, 1,800 alcohol offences (Criminal Code, Chapter 50a) and infractions were recorded. This was nearly nine per cent higher than in the year before.

Figure 6. Alcohol and narcotics offences in 2000 to 2019

Figure 6. Alcohol and narcotics offences in 2000 to 2019

When compiling statistics on offences involving intoxicating substances, offences comprising several criminal acts are entered as one. Offences involving intoxicating substances are such that they are generally found out only because of the activity of the police, customs or border guard officials and most of the offences remain undisclosed.

1.6 Other offences and infractions

Altogether 4,700 reports of invasion of domestic premises and harassing communications (Criminal Code, Chapter 24, Sections 1-2) were recorded, which is 150 fewer cases than one year earlier. In all, 87 cases of invasion or aggravated invasion of public premises (Criminal Code, Chapter 24, Sections 3-4) were recorded. Illicit observation was reported 420 times, which is 150 cases more than in the previous year.

In all, 9,300 menaces, 4,600 defamations, and close on 700 stalking cases were recorded. The number of menaces grew by 5.1 per cent and that of defamations by 3.8 per cent.

In all, 3,900 identity thefts were recorded, which is 3.1 per cent more than in the previous year.

Good 300 employment offences (Criminal Code, Chapter 37) were reported, which is nearly 50 cases fewer than in the year before. Nearly 500 environmental offences (Criminal Code, Chapter 48) were recorded, which is approximately 50 cases fewer than in the year before.

1.7 Solving of offences

During 2019, the police, customs and border guard solved a total of 648,300 offences and infractions, which is 6.7 per cent lower than in 2018. The fall was mainly caused by a fall in the number of traffic offences and infractions. Altogether 275,000 offences against the Criminal Code were solved, which is good 1,300 cases more than in the previous year. The clearance rate of all offences and infractions was 79.2 per cent and the clearance rate of offences against the Criminal Code was 60.7 per cent. The corresponding rates were 79.5 and 61.7 per cent in the year before. The clearance rate is calculated as the share of solved offences in the statistical year compared to the number of reported offences in the statistical year. For this reason, the clearance rate may be over 100 per cent for some year.

The clearance rate varies by type of offence quite strongly. Only approximately 15 per cent of thefts (Criminal Code, Chapter 28, Section 1) are solved while one-half of petty theft (Criminal Code, Chapter 28, Section 3) cases are solved. The clearance rates of assault offences have decreased slightly in recent years. In 2019, the clearance rate of assault offences was 63 per cent having been 70 per cent in 2015. Due to the manner of disclosure, drunken driving and traffic offences, and offences involving intoxicating substances almost all become solved.

In 2018, a large number of sexual abuses of a child and rapes were recorded towards the end of the year, so they could not be cleared during that same year. This is visible in the drop of the clearance rate of such offences in 2018. In 2019, the clearance rate of these offences rose again closer to the figures for 2017.

Table 5. Clearance rate of certain types of offences in 1986-2019

  1986 - 1990 1991 - 1995 1996 - 2000 2001 - 2005 2006 - 2010 2011 - 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019
Offences against the Criminal Code 69 58 57 63 67 63 61 62 62 61
Theft 28:1 25 17 14 15 18 15 15 15 14 14
Aggravated theft 28:2 39 29 40 41 38 34 32 37 31 31
Petty theft 28:3 78 70 67 58 57 56 54 50 51 52
Robberies total 53 43 42 45 49 53 53 56 53 54
Damages to property total 29 27 27 26 25 22 22 22 24 23
Attempted manslaughter, murder or killing 95 91 92 94 97 92 88 100 84 86
Assault 21:5 79 74 76 80 81 76 67 66 64 64
Aggravated assault 21:6 85 84 83 87 88 84 81 80 77 78
Petty assault 21:7 95 86 79 75 73 72 65 60 59 58
Sexual abuse of a child 91 84 88 82 86 75 69 63 52 59
Rape 63 56 57 63 66 70 67 71 55 68

The lowest clearance rates for offences against the Criminal Code were found in the Eastern Uusimaa and Helsinki police departments. On the other hand, most offences were reported to the Helsinki police department, 73,000 cases. This is some 11,000 more than to the Central Finland police department, which recorded the second most offences.

Figure 7. Clearance rate of offences against the Criminal Code after authorities 2017 to 2019

Figure 7. Clearance rate of offences against the Criminal Code after authorities 2017 to 2019

Source: Statistics on offences and coercive measures 2019, Offences reported. Statistics Finland

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

Director in charge: Jari Tarkoma


Updated 14.5.2020

Referencing instructions:

Official Statistics of Finland (OSF): Statistics on offences and coercive measures [e-publication].
ISSN=2342-9178. 13 2019, 1. Review on offences recorded by the police, customs and border guard . Helsinki: Statistics Finland [referred: 16.4.2021].
Access method: http://www.stat.fi/til/rpk/2019/13/rpk_2019_13_2020-05-14_kat_001_en.html