Suspected hate crimes in Finland fall by 20.6% in 2012

by , under Enrique

Suspected hate crimes in 2012 totaled 732, which is a 20.6% fall from 918 cases in the previous year, according to YLE in English. Of the total hate crimes reported to the police last year, 641 cases were classified as racist. 

Kuvankaappaus 2013-10-13 kello 21.15.38
Read full story here.

According to YLE in English, the most common offense investigated by the police was “inciting ethnic hatred.” 

The majority of the suspects were white Finns, but there were three cases where the suspect belonged to a minority. 

While it is welcome news that hate crimes are on the retreat in Finland, how credible are these figures? Should we accept them at face value or treat them with tweezers? 

Last month, Tarja Mankkinen, internal security secretariat head, said that many racist crimes in Finland go unreported.

As long as Finland gives political space to intolerance in any shape or form, which encourages hate crimes to happen, these types of statistics should be taken with a grain of salt. At the best, the police should encourage immigrants and visible minorities to report hate crimes.

As Migrant Tales has written previously, reporting racist harassment to the police is easier said than done.

Kuvankaappaus 2013-11-7 kello 8.53.04
 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 918. Source: Police College of Finland.

Like in other parts of Europe, a Race Council Cymru study of Wales revealed how racism goes  “underreported,” according to a story published by the BBC,

Factors like language barriers, fear of reprisals and lack of trust in the police are some reasons why racist crimes continue to be underreported in Wales.

The same factors must play a role in Finland as well.

  1. Klay_immigrant

    If the number of suspected hate crimes went up, you would say that is proof Finland is getting more hostile and intolerant to minorities and the numbers are accurate.

    If the number went down then you would question the validity of the statistics and speculate the reasons why minorities may not go to the police (as shown here) explaining that gives a false picture.

    You just can’t win with some people. Double standards depending on what whether the numbers fit your agenda.

    • Enrique Tessieri

      –If the number of suspected hate crimes went up, you would say that is proof Finland is getting more hostile and intolerant to minorities and the numbers are accurate.

      My conclusions, or questions about the statistics, hinge on personal experience and with similar situations elsewhere. Moreover, the internal security head said in September that many racist crimes go unreported in Finland. Let me refresh your memory:

      Denial or playing down an problem is not the way to resolve it.

    • Mark


      You just can’t win with some people.

      We all win when we all take the issue of social inclusiveness to be an important part of modern societies. It is a sad fact in both Europe and throughout the rest of the world Klay that majorities have often abused their majority position to take advantage of minorities and to abuse them. That is the very clear and consistent lesson of history. So, what do we have by way of tools to combat that kind of abuse of a person’s basic freedoms in a modern democracy? We need an accurate picture of the problem.

      What you set out was not simply a possibility to manipulate statistics to fulfill a preconceived idea about high levels of racism in Finland, it also constitutes a very well-practiced form of denial about racism in a country – when people complain that statistics go up, it is because policing is working better and more are feeling ‘safer’ to report, and when statistics go down, it is because real rates are falling. In other words, when it comes to manipulation, there are FOUR possibilities, not just the two that you put forward. To get to the truth, we need to test all FOUR sets of assumptions. Now why didn’t you mention that Klay?

      The answer is a mixture of measures, surveys that test public confidence in the police among minorities, that ask about different forms of racism and it’s frequency. Relying entirely on reports to police or actual convictions does not work, simply because these measures are so difficult to interpret on their own.

      I don’t see you calling for better measuring of these social ills, Klay? I only see you attempting to discredit and put doubt into the minds of people when it comes to any interpretation that might highlight a problem in Finland. That’s as blinded as you foolishly interpret our view to be.