Suspected cases of incitement to hatred triple

Publication date 7.10.2020 18.44
News item

Last year police learned of slightly fewer suspected hate crimes than in 2018, according to an annual report on hate crimes from the Police University College. According to the report, a total of 899 criminal complaints were filed last year about acts that were classified as suspected hate crimes. The number declined, approaching the longer-term level that preceded the surge in growth in such crimes that took place in 2015.

In the Police University College study, hate crimes were classified according to the different motives involved. As was the case in the previous years, most of the complaints involved hate crimes with features targeting ethnic and national background. The police recorded a total of 650 such crimes, which is slightly more than in the previous year. In such cases the most common type of crime was assault.

In nine percent of criminal complaints related to ethnic or national origin, the plaintiff was a person of Roma background. The most common type of crime involved in these complaints was discrimination.

Verbal insults, threats, and harassment on the increase

In recent years, online humiliation, threats, and defamation have increased and have become more visible phenomena. Although assault remains the most common type of crime among hate crimes to have come to the attention of the police, statistics indicate growth in cases of verbal defamation, threats, and harassment compared with 2018. Most commonly these complaints apply to defamation and illegal threats.

It is also worth noting that suspected cases of incitement to hatred tripled last year. Police received a total of 105 complaints last year, up from 34 in 2018.

Suspected crimes targeting gender identity on the increase

The greatest change in suspected hate crimes involved complaints of crimes targeting the victim’s religion or belief, which declined by 14 percent from 2018. In slightly less than half of the cases, Islam or Muslim individuals were targeted.

The total number of hate crimes targeting the victim's assumed or real sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression declined slightly from the previous year. However, of these, there was an increase in the number of suspected crimes targeting gender identity, or gender expression reported to the police than in 2018. The greatest number of complaints were for defamation.

The number of complaints related to disability decreased from the previous year. Nearly half of these suspected crimes involved defamation.

The number of suspected hate crimes has been monitored by the Police University College to the present extent since 2008. Hate crimes statistics are based on national police report data.

Number of suspected hate crimes 2011-2019 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019
Ethnic or national background 788 641 710 678 991 831 813 634 650
Religion or belief 61 45 73 68 133 149 235 155 133
Sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression 45 30 39 47 61 57 60 73 72
Disability 24 16 11 29 65 42 57 48 44
Total 918 732 833 822 1250 1079 1165 910 899

Information from the publication:
Jenita Rauta: Hate crime in Finland coming to the attention of the police 2019. Reviews of the Police University College 16/2020.