Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Murder in the North

I wrote a little about last autumn during all the shock expressed at the Jokela school shooting, that Finland is actually a pretty violent society, at least by European standards. YLE now has a report on last years homicide rate - 130, a little down from 150 homicides in 2006.

I checked the statistics for England and Wales (Scotland keeps it's own stats separately), the most up-to-date figure was 765 for 2005-6, and that includes the 52 victims of the London bombings of July 2005. Now I have to do the maths - the population of England and Wales is about 52 million, so for every million people in the UK, there are about 14.7 homicides. The Finnish population is a bit over 5 million, which means using the 2006 figure (closer in time to the UK figures) you get 30 homicides per million. As long as I've done my sums right (which is by no means a given!) that suggests you were twice as likely to get killed in Finland by someone else in 2006 as you were in England and Wales - terrorists and all. This is, to a Brit in Finland, somewhat counter-intuitive as fear of crime in the UK seems higher (property crime may actually be higher - I don't know), and Finland 'feels' much safer. But then, as my introductory criminology class many years ago taught me, crime and fear of crime are very different things, and the YLE article points to the answer - Finland has a serious problem with domestic violence.

1 comment:

Jukka said...

Now that's prodding at the most serious taboo in Finnish society. You will either get complete silence or a scolding from some pundit or other about how wrong you are and because you are a "foreigner" you know nothing about Finland.

It's not a subject the Finn's like to touch on.