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Study: Fear of violence on the rise in Finland

New research published by a local paper holds that one in three people in Finland are anxious about being assaulted.

Varjo miehen jaloista ja kädestä sekä toisen miehen tennariparista.
People fear street violence six percent more than before. Image: Rami Koivula / Yle

People in Finland are more fearful of being violently assaulted than before, according to research results published in regional media portal Sunnuntaisuomalainen.

The study from the University of Helsinki has not yet been published, but the Institute of Criminology and Legal Policy announced some of the findings on Saturday.

33 percent of respondents said that at least once a year they have experienced fear over becoming the victim of random street violence at night outside their own homes. About 15 percent said they consciously avoid certain areas in their neighbourhoods for fear of being assaulted.

The fear of violence was found to be strongest in large cities. Women also fear violence more than men.

The research has been conducted since 2012. The fear of violence has risen by six percent in the last four years.

Researchers speculate that the rapid growth in immigration may have something to do with the increase, as well as the threat of global terrorism.

"Violent conduct and threatening situations have not actually increased as such," the criminology institute's developer Petri Danielsson says.

The national criminological study will be published in full in June.

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