Reported crime rate dropped slightly in Estonia in 2022

Minister of Justice Lea Danilson-Järg.
Minister of Justice Lea Danilson-Järg. Source: Priit Mürk/ERR

Reported crime in Estonia fell by 1.2 percent on year to 2022, the Ministry of Justice says, to 25,663 incidents, though when collated with other indicators such as surveys, little changed on the preceding year – though 2021 saw all-time lows for some crime categories.

Minister of Justice Lea Danilson-Järg (Isamaa) said that reported crimes against property, however, rose by 3 percent to 2022, and have been rising generally in recent years.

She said: "Whereas in 2019 the share of crimes against property was at its lowest level ever, i.e. 38 percent, now the proportion among all crime types has been rising steadily."

Of types of property crimes, the minister said: "Over the last two years, the number of shoplifting incidents has increased; two-thirds of these were organized thefts."

"At the same time, we are happy to note that the proportion of crimes against the person has fallen by 4 percent, compared with 2019," she went on, according to a ministry press release.

Of the overall figures for 2022, the crimes against property also had the largest share, at 46 percent, while 26 percent were crimes against the person, with physical abuse the most prominent of these.

On the other hand, the total number of violent crimes fell 6 percent on year to 2022, the ministry says.

A further 11 percent of the total was made up of road traffic crimes, principally drunk driving.

The number of homicides and attempted homicides reported stood at 27 in 2022, unchanged on the preceding year.

Of these attacks, 18 people died – the lowest figure since Estonian re-attained its independence in 1991.

Minister Danilson-Järg noted that crime statistics are based on those reported to the Police and Border Guard Board and other law enforcement agencies, and do not on their own constitute the total.

"Aside from the statistics, it is also important to monitor information collected through research. For example, the latest victim survey reveals that last year, 6 percent of respondents fell victim to a crime or one kind or another, compared with 5 percent of respondents the year before," the minister said.

"Factoring in the survey's margin of error, it could be stated that there has been no significant change in overall crime levels, while registered crime statistics suggest the same," Danilson-Järg went on.

The minister targeted drink driving, and shoplifting as areas which required further attention, with the latter likely to be influenced by the current economic situation

Work with youth offenders has been fruitful, she added, and needs to continue and be strengthened further.

2022's figure for youth crime and misdemeanor offenses was unchanged on that for 2021, though this was an all-time low.

737 crimes were registered as having been committed by minors in 2022, a 4 percent fall on year, though this has to be offset against a 1 percent rise in reported misdemeanor crimes perpetrated by minors, which stood at 3,443 in total.

Of other statistics, reported crimes relating to public trust and confidence, mainly document falsification, were up 29 perecnt on year, driven by a surge in Covid certification forgery, the ministry said.

White collar crime, such as the granting and receiving of bribes, also rose.

On the other hand, computer crime fell by as much as a quarter on year to 2022, the first fall posted in a decade.

Drug crime fell by as much as 23 percent; crimes of a sexual nature were down 19 percent.

While crimes against the person were the second most common crime overall (see above), their incidence, too, has decreased, by 5 percent over the year.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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