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Police: Up to six mass shootings a year prevented in Finland

Anticipating potential mass shooting threats is a skill that has been developed for years in Finland with authorities pooling their national resources. Police are on the high alert for potential gun violence every day.

Timo Kilpeläinen
Police monitor dozens of suspicious individuals, says Timo Kilpeläinen. Image: Yle

Following the Munich shopping centre shooting on Friday night that left nine people dead in Germany, police inspector Timo Kilpeläinen says that between 4 to 6 potential mass shootings a year are prevented by police in Finland.

"The authorities monitor dozens of people's daily lives and internet activity through various levels of surveillance," says Kilpeläinen.

These individuals are monitored because they behave in a threatening way toward others or frequent online forums that glorify violence.

In countries such as Finland and Germany, mass shootings cannot be entirely eradicated due to the individual freedoms granted to citizens by society. However, advanced threat detection has been developed.

"A system of pre-emptive measures has been built since Finland's most recent school shootings (Kauhajoki in 2008 and Jokela in 2007).  If police receive information on a person's intent to stage an attack, they are able to intervene," says Kilpeläinen.

The Munich shooting occurred on the 5th anniversary of the Utøya, Norway attack.

"Anniversaries of mass killings are taken into consideration in official police work, but we prepare for threats such as these every single day," Kilpeläinen says.

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