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Police: Reporting of sex offences up 16%

Police do not believe that more sex crimes are being committed, but rather that more are being reported.

According to police, the suspect is known to the victim in 67 percent of reported cases. Image: Toni Pitkänen / Yle

The number of reports of sexual offences increased by more than 16 percent in the first half of 2019, according to a statement issued by Finnish police.

However, police do not believe that more sex crimes are being committed, but rather that more are being reported.

"It should be noted that these figures refer only to the number of reported crimes and do not therefore indicate whether the number of offenders has increased. In other words, the same offender may be the suspect in more than one case," the police press release (siirryt toiseen palveluun) stated.

The increase has also been attributed to the filing of several reports over a short period of time, for example when a suspect is held on suspicion of committing one crime, but earlier offences are subsequently added to the suspect's charge sheet.

According to the police statistics, the suspect was known to the victim in about 67 percent of the reported sexual offenses.

Furthermore, approximately three quarters of the suspects were Finnish nationals, while just over one quarter were foreign nationals, an increase of about six percent compared with last year.

100% increase in sex crime reports in Oulu

According to Chief of Police Seppo Kolehmainen, the year-on-year difference has been driven by an increased concentration of reporting around specific population groups and in certain regions.

In Oulu, the total number of sexual offence reports increased by more than 100 percent in the first half of this year compared to the same period last year, with 205 sexual offences being brought to the attention of the Oulu Police Department from January to June this year.

Of these reports, the number of rapes was almost twice as high as in January to June last year, and the number of reported child sexual abuse cases was 42 percent higher than in the corresponding period of 2018.

However, Oulu is not the only place where the reporting of sex crimes has increased.

In the area patrolled by the Western Uusimaa Police Department, the number of sexual offence reports increased by almost 65 percent. There was a particular spike in the reporting of cases involving the sexual exploitation of a child, with 131 reports filed, an increase of almost 105 percent.

The number of rape reports in the region also increased, by almost 29 percent, with 45 separate cases recorded.

Elsewhere in Finland, the number of sexual offence reports is similar to last year, or has decreased. Reports to the Eastern Finland Police Department were down by almost 13 percent in January to June this year, with 23 fewer incidents being brought to the police's attention than in the corresponding period last year.