Police say they are concerned about rising crime rates and the deteriorating level of safety in many Finnish cities.
“Since the Covid years, security has taken a significant turn for the worse,” Inspector Vesa Pihajoki of the National Police Board told Yle.
For the past 10 years, Finnish police have been monitoring the situation in the country’s larger cities using a so-called ‘disturbance index’. The register records incidents of certain suspected crimes committed in public places as well as the number of crime reports made to police departments.
The cities of Helsinki, Vantaa and Tampere top the crime charts, with Tampere in particular seeing a steeper rise in crime compared to any other city in the country.
There are several reasons for this, according to Tampere’s Risk Management and Safety Director, Jouni Perttula.
“The biggest thing are disorders: mental health problems and substance abuse problems,” Perttula said. “Substance abuse causes other problems like disorderly behaviour as well as property crimes. And these are visible on the street.”
He added that the city’s hosting of major events as well as the number of new residents moving into Tampere have also led to an uptick in crime.
“Perhaps one of the reasons is the rapid growth of the city: this year, more than 5,000 new residents have arrived, last year more than 4,000,” Perttula noted, but added that the City of Tampere is working closely with the police and many other organisations to help improve the situation.
“Tampere is still safe. It is important that we all take responsibility for the safety of the city,” he said.
The police record homicides, assaults, sexual offences, vandalism and attempted vandalism in public places as part of the population-based disturbance index.
The figures show that, in addition to Tampere, the cities of Espoo, Helsinki and Jyväskylä have also seen a significant rise in crime over the past decade.
Turku and Lahti have both seen slight increases in the disturbance index, while crime rates in the city of Kuopio have tended to fluctuate. The index suggests that levels in Oulu and Pori remain more or less the same as 10 years ago.
Police aim to tackle rising crime rates
The National Police Board has set tackling urban crime as a priority for next year.
“Performance targets are set for all police stations in terms of the disturbance index in order to lower it and improve the safety situation,” Pihajoki said.
He added that the police also intend to increase their presence around crime hotspots.
“I strongly believe that it has a deterrent effect on crime and disorder. We will try to do as much as we can with the resources at our disposal,” he added.
Source : YLE