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Expert: No Fox News, Tampere isn't Europe's 8th "deadliest" city

A researcher said Tampere didn't even have the highest murder rate in Finland - and it was the only Finnish city listed.

Kuuset ja Näsinneula
File photo of the city of Tampere Image: Marko Melto / Yle

The southern Finnish city of Tampere is Europe's eighth deadliest city, according to US-based network Fox News. However, a Finnish criminology expert disagrees entirely with that notion.

The network listed 10 cities it found to be the most dangerous in Europe, basing its findings on a 2019 report from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.

The conservative-leaning Fox noted that, European cities are considered "much safer" compared to homicide rates in the US and that no European city was found among the top 50 cities with the highest murder rates.

Tampere was the only Finnish city listed in the rankings, leading an expert in criminology to find problems with the network's findings.

Senior researcher at Helsinki University's National Research Institute of Criminal and Legal Policy, Martti Lehti, said Fox's crime data can't be correct and added that the source of the information used for the ranking was unclear.

For years, the institute has regularly published detailed reports on crime statistics in Finland and sent them to the UN to be used in comparative global reports.

"These findings cannot be based on statistics," Lehti said.

Expert: Tampere "relatively non-violent" city

According to the Fox News report, there were two homicides in Tampere during 2017 and five murders the previous year. Lehti said Fox's math cannot be correct, noting that in 2011 there were 11 killings in Tampere, the highest number in recent times.

"I don't know the source of the claim. I suspect the source data is not up to date. The homicide rate in Tampere has been below the Finnish average. Tampere is a relatively non-violent city," Lehti explained.

Over the past decade there were 1.5 homicides per 100,000 inhabitants in Tampere, a ratio which is below the national average. Lehti said that during that period, more murders were committed in the greater Helsinki area than in Tampere. Additionally, the Swedish city of Malmö - which did not appear on Fox's list at all - also had a higher homicide rate than Tampere, he said.

According to the National Council for Crime Prevention, about 100 people are victims of homicide every year in Finland. The country's murder rates have been in decline since the second half of the 1990s.

Big numbers in the USA

However, Fox was correct when it reported that compared to other Nordic and most other European countries, Finland still has a relatively high murder rate.

A UN report from last July on global homicide rates found that a total of 464,000 people had lost their lives to homicide during 2017. The international agency said there were far more lives lost to murder than to armed conflict around the world that year.

The US murder rate during that period was 17.2 per 100,000 inhabitants, according to the UN report. There were 13 homicides per 100,000 people on the entire continent of Africa.

Murder rates were below worldwide averages in Asia, Europe and Oceania.

Globally, 81 percent of homicide victims in 2017 were men and boys.

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