Suspected hate crimes in 2013 rose by 13.9% to 833 cases compared with 732 in the previous year, according to the Police College of Finland. While one suspected hate crime is too many, how should we interpret these figures? What do they reflect? Do they reveal that there are high or low hate crime levels in Finland?
Do they show the migrant and minority communities’ mistrust of the police since the majority of hate crimes go unreported?
If this is the case, what do these figures reveal to us about intolerance in Finland?
Or maybe we should ask some hard questions of the police like if they actively encourage people to report hate crimes?
In 2013, total hate crimes rose to 833 from 732 in 2012. The first line reads “racist crimes” (rasistiset rikokset) and the second one “other hate crimes” (muut viharikokset). This table has two discrepancies with earlier figures published by the Police College of Finland. In 2008 the corresponding figure was 859 and in 2011 919. Source: Police College of Finland.
Meanwhile, a YLE in English reports that the police doesn’t consider diversity a priority in the face of budget cuts.
“We have a serious lack of police officers, there are so few of us. Lack of money could be a great cause of this, which also leads to a lack of diversity in my opinion. Our priority is not to gain in diversity, but to gain in numbers in general,” stated one of the protesting officers in November against budget cuts.
As Finland’s cultural and ethnic diversity increases, how many migrants and minorities will have to live in Finland for the police to understand that diversity is crucial?
When they understand this and when there are more minorities on the police force, possibly then we’ll probably start to make some sense of these hate crime statistics.