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Homicides Down, but Alcohol Seen as Fueling Assault and Battery

Source: Photo: Postimees/Scanpix

Murders and other homicides were down by 16 percent in the first six months of the year while cases of assault and/or battery increased 11 percent, prompting concern from officials.

Homicides dropped from 62 to 52 in the period, according to a crime index compiled periodically by the Justice Ministry.

In general, reported crime was down. In the first eight months of the year, 27,488 crimes were registered, 606 fewer than a year ago.

Larceny, fraud and robberies were down - 6. 4 and 10 percent, respectively - but physical abuse (defined as the intentional infliction of discomfort, pain or injury) and criminal traffic violations increased.

"The large number of offenses against persons is very salient," said Justice Minister Kristen Michal. "Above all we see the trend of growth in alcohol consumption as one cause of the growth in the high violent crime rate and the absolute number of the crimes."

The alcohol trend is also seen in the traffic violations - the 2,051 cases seen in the first seven months was 123 more than in the same period last year.

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