Ministry: Fall in violent offenses behind overall 2020 crime decrease

Police car (photo is illustrative).
Police car (photo is illustrative). Source: Sergei Stepanov/ERR

Crime fell in 2020, particularly driven by a fall in offenses against the person, the Ministry of Justice reports, and linked to the effects of the pandemic. At the same time, cyber crime saw an increase last year.

Five percent fewer crimes were committed last year compared with 2019, while crimes against the person fell nine percent over the same period, meaning 741 fewer such.

Mari-Liis Sööt, head of the ministry's analysis department, said that: "There are two types of crime behind the overall fall. One is crimes against property, i.e. thefts, which have been quietly falling all the time in recent years. But as of last year, violent crimes have also fallen."

At the sane time, the number of homicides more than doubled, to 14, in 2020, though Sööts said that these cases mostly involved people known to each other, with alcohol also playing its role.

Juvenile crime has also fallen, Sööts added.

"For the first time in ten years, we have registered fewer than a thousand juvenile offenses," Sööts said, adding that the pandemic and lockdown would have played its part, given that such incidents often involve alcohol consumed in public places, leading to fights and petty theft.

Conversely, and again possibly even linked to the pandemic, cyber crime grew by 12 percent in 2020, Sööts added, with scam phone calls and identity theft being particularly prominent, highlighting the need for attention to cyber security.

The Minister of Justice is now Maris Lauri (Reform).


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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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