A quarter of the population fall victim to crime in a year

Posted on 5 January 2010, 10:00

According to the results of the Security Survey of Statistics Estonia, 26% of the adults i.e. of the 15–74-year-old population of Estonia fall victim to some act of crime in a year.

In 2009 Statistics Estonia conducted the Security Survey with the aim to investigate the extent of crime against population. More than 4,000 persons participated in the Survey all over Estonia. The questions concerned mainly the incidents that had happened during the last twelve months.

According to the Survey, nearly 274,000 persons fall victim to crime in a year.

“The data of the population survey are not directly comparable to the number of crimes recorded by the Police, because in the Survey the respondent may mark as crimes also the incidents which are specified as misdemeanour pursuant to legislation or which do not have the necessary elements of a criminal offence for the purposes of relevant legislation,” noted the analyst Kutt Kommel. “A certain number of differences can also be explained by the circumstances that the Police are not informed about all crimes — mainly because not all incidents are considered important enough for that,” he added.

22% of the adult population i.e. 232,000 persons were exposed to crime against property during the year. More frequent crimes against property were the car vandalism as well as thefts from cottage, summer residence or allotment garden — nearly 67,000 cases of both. By frequency, thefts from cars followed. The rarest were the thefts of motorbikes, scooters and mopeds, totalling to slightly over a thousand cases.

88,000 persons i.e. 8% of the adult population fell victim to violent crimes during the year. 24,000 persons were victims of assault and 22,000 persons were victims of robbery. 21,000 persons were threatened with violence and the same number of people fell victim to physical abuse. About 38,000 persons were exposed to verbal abuse.

The rate of victimization was higher in cities, and the share of non-Estonians was larger among victims. The 20–29-year-old population fell victim to crime more often than others. The percentage of victims was the lowest among the 60–74-year-olds. There were no remarkable differences between men and women in the crime victimization.

Every tenth inhabitant of Estonia had been offered narcotics at least once during the year preceding the Survey, and 22% of respondents knew someone who had the habit of using narcotics. 21% of Estonians and 55% of non-Estonians had come across drug problems. Compared to the rest of Estonia, there were more such people in Harju, Lääne-Viru and Ida-Viru counties.

186,000 persons had been exposed to consumer fraud during the year. Non-Estonians and the inhabitants of Lääne-Viru and Ida-Viru counties had more problems with fraud.
Compared to the Crime Victimization Surveys conducted in Estonia during 1993–2004, the Survey of Statistics Estonia showed a declining trend in case of nearly all types of criminal offence. According to the similar surveys conducted in 2000 and in 2004, one third of respondents had fallen victim to crime per year.