A new report by the National Research Institute of Legal Policy, a body overseen by the Justice Ministry, claims that some groups of immigrants are more likely to commit or be victims of crime in Finland.
The report analysed the personal data of 50,000 offenders from police reports of assault, theft, robbery and rape. In addition the study surveyed a cross-section of the population, asking them to report on whether they had committed offences or been victims of crime.
The authors said that the research shows that some immigrant groups are significantly more likely to commit or be a victim of crime than the native Finnish population.
Other immigrant groups, however, were found to have below average rates of offending and victimisation.
The authors of the study also pointed out that the majority of people in both immigrant and native population groups had no involvement at all in crimes, as victims or offenders.
The research said that the findings show a large proportion of crimes take place within the same immigrant group, suggesting that the risk of committing a crime and being a victim of crime are linked.
Socio-economic factors partly to blame
The report partly blamed the high number of low- or middle-income young men within the immigrant populations for the higher crime and victimisation rates, though it said that this does not explain the differences between different immigrant groups. The study also suggested that parental control, family socio-economics and routine activities such as hobbies have an impact on criminality or victimisation.
The study defined an immigrant by the country of their birth or their parents’ birth, and by language. All people who were born abroad were considered as first-generation immigrants. Those born in Finland and who spoke languages other than Finnish, Swedish or Sami were defined as second-generation immigrants.
The researchers said that once they had adjusted the data for age, gender, and income, the level of crime and victimisation among immigrants was closer to that for the native population. However, the risk difference remained significant.
The authors said that their results are similar to findings from analyses of crime and population registers in Sweden and Norway.
In response to the findings, the report recommended better measures to promote employment, education, residential desegregation and language training, as well as more structured leisure activities for youths, in order to address the differences uncovered in the research.