While objectively speaking, Estonia isn't unsafe compared to other European countries, domestic violence and verbal mistreatment diminish one's sense of security in society, President Kersti Kaljulaid said.
In a longer interview with Police and Border Guard Board (PPA) magazine "Radar" (link in Estonian), Kaljulaid said that if you compare Estonia with other European countries, objectively speaing, life in Estonia isn't unsafe.
"If people are concerned for their safety, then we have to consider what the emotional reason or issue is behind that," she said. "One reason could of course be the fact that we have a considerable amount of crime and domestic violence in our society without very serious consequences, which in many people causes fear."
Another phenomenon the president cited as a possible factor diminishing people's sense of security is verbal mistreatment.
"If we look at even an online comments section, which may have seemed innocent enough at first — 'Oh, let people blow off some steam there,'" she continued. "By now, however, institutionalized communities have formed, perhaps even some political party-supported online portals whose names may give the impression that this is journalism."
There is in fact a lot of evil and hatred there, Kaljulaid warned. "At some point, that will definitely start to eat away at one's sense of security. If someone is verbally mistreated in an authoritative source, then someone who themselves is very unhappy for some reason but has power over someone weaker than them might mistreat them the same way, because this appears to be acceptable now."
Editor: Aili Vahtla