Crime statistics released by the Ministry of Justice revealed that in 2019, there were 27,169 crimes registered, the same level as the year before, while the number of serious violent crimes was at a record low. But reports of domestic violence and cybercrime increased.
Minister of Justice Raivo Aeg (Isamaa) told a press conference on Monday that last year Estonia had at the lowest crime rate since the restoration of independence.
"The positive news is that the number of the most serious violent crimes continued to decline and was once again at a record low," Aeg said. In total 23 people were vicitms of manslaughter and murder last year, a decrease of five from 2018.
In 1995, the number of murders, including attempted murders, was 92. According to Aeg, 85 percent of murders are related to alcohol and involved people who know each other.
However, there has been an increase in the reporting of crimes.
"There has been a noticeable increase of six percent in the reporting of crimes of violence, which can be attributed to the increased public awareness of domestic violence and the increased attention of the police to this previously hidden problem," said Aeg.
In 2019, 4,119 domestic violence crimes were recorded by police, a 14 percent increase over the previous year, and the reporting of these crimes has also increased. Every other violent crime in Estonia is related to domestic violence.
Mari-Liis Sööt, head of the analytical service of the Ministry of Justice, said five people died last year due to domestic violence. In five years, 46 people have died as a result of domestic violence.
Reporting of sex crimes has also increased, an increase of 11 percent on the previous year.
Aivar Alavere, head of the Central Criminal Police, said the settlements between organized crime groups have also become more "white-collar", more civilized, and less violence.
Traffic crime accounted for 13 percent of all crimes. Aeg said the number of drunken drivers in traffic has decreased, but the number of drunk drivers who have been convicted of a misdemeanor has increased. The minister emphasized that speeding was also a factor in these cases.
The number of cybercrime cases increased significantly with a total of being 965 recorded last year. The most typical computer crime is hijacking a victim's online account. Overloading of computer systems and other such acts accounted for 5 percent of all the cybercrimes.
Crimes against property accounted for the largest share, 38 per cent, while their numbers have steadily decreased. Last year, there were 10,190 crimes against property, which is three percent less than last year.
48 per cent of the crimes were registered in Harju County, 14 per cent in Ida-Viru County and 11 per cent in Tartu County.
Prosecutor General Andres Parmas said the prosecution intends to focus on combating economic and cybercrime. According to Parmas, the quality of criminal proceedings will be enhanced by the digitalisation of proceedings.
Editor: Helen Wright