Crime prevention acts in Finland

Published 7.7.2014

The summary of the council's annual report 2013

In its operation, the Council for Crime Prevention pursues to increase safety and decrease the harm caused by crime. Crime occurs in various domains and each term the council evaluates the need to increase awareness on crime taking place in specific sectors.

The council’s operation follows the principles stated in a document Operating principles for the Council for Crime Prevention 2012–2014, where the following five points of focus were imposed:

  1. The council supports local crime prevention and promotes the perspective of crime prevention in planning and policy making.
  2. The council promotes the prevention of violence.
  3. The council supports the improvement of the role of the victim whilst directing special attention to repeat victimization and its prevention.
  4. The council supports the prevention of children and youth becoming marginalized and brings out the significance of marginalization as a central risk factor of crimes.
  5. The council promotes the evaluation of the effectiveness of crime prevention methods as well as promotes crime prevention methods based on proof and evidence.

Local crime prevention

In supporting local crime prevention, the Council of Crime Prevention participated and arranged numerous initiatives during this present term. First of all, the council for crime prevention prepared the division of a state subsidy, 140 000€ awarded by the Ministry of Justice, to be divided to projects that are specifically related to crime prevention. In 2013 the council put special attention on initiatives either promoting the council’s points of focus, or initiatives that would decrease the risk of crime concerning the elderly. Alltogether the council received 30 applications in 2013 and the state subsidy was nominated to the following projects:

  • Aseman Lapset ry (Children of the Station) : The evaluation wholeness of the Street conciliation method 2013–2014
  • Hakunilan kansainvälinen yhdistys ry (The Hakunila International Organization) : Crime prevention in plain language
  • Helsingin kaupunki ( City of Helsinki) : A study on the everyday insecurity experiences among second generation immigrants in Helsinki
  • Jokilaaksojen pelastuslaitos (The Rescue department of the River valleys) : Safety channel II-phase
  • KRIS-Etelä-Suomi ry (C.R.I.S (Criminals’ Return In to Society) Southern Finland) : KRIS Youth Helsinki – mentoring project
  • Meritulli-Heinäpään asukasyhdistys ry (Meritulli-Heinäpään residents' association) : Safety for residents from each other
  • Romano Missio ry : Attach to life -Phallo dzivibosta
  • Suomen Icehearts ry (Finnish Icehearts association) : “Off to work when I`m a grown-up"
  • Suomen Somaliland kehitys ja integraatio ry (Finnish Somaliland development and integration association) : Prevention of violent behaviour among the youth
  • Vaasan kaupungin kasvatus- ja opetusvirasto ( Education and school authority of City of Vasa) : The promotion of school safety by student´s safety walks
  • Vantaan kaupunki ( City of Vantaa): Koivukylä station region safety

The Council’s alignment is to focus on the promotion of multi-financed projects that have relevance in crime prevention and are documented and evaluated from the perspective of crime prevention. The Council’s objective is to promote the perspective of crime prevention in projects that could potentially have significance in crime prevention but in which the perspective might otherwise be ignored. The aforementioned eleven projects were chosen to receive these funds on these grounds.

Another way in which the Council approached the supporting of local crime prevention was through inclusion of citizens in safety work. The use of community supportive methods on a local level was promoted by supporting citizens’ involvement and participation in the planning, execution and evaluation of safety work and crime prevention. One central method used was the safety walks. A guide of safety walks was published in turn of the year 2011/2012 and it has been distributed across the country.

During the present term the Council created a survey on safety in order to better answer the demand on local requirements in crime prevention. To support the work on and the planning of local safety and crime prevention a web-based survey was developed in 2012. The survey enables a regional mapping of crime and safety issues experienced by the residents, as well as gathering of ideas in order to solve those issues. The survey, too, has been conducted successfully across the country in four cities.

Also, In order to influence policy making, the council strives for the promotion of the crime prevention perspective in community planning. In the autumn of 2012, this was one of the main themes the Council worked with. In 2011 a website on safety in a city (turvallinenkaupunki.fi ) was opened, the development of which the council supported together with the Ministry of Justice.

Prevention of crime against seniors

Local crime prevention was also approached from the point of view of safety among the seniors. A safety guide for seniors was published in October 2012 and it has been distributed free of charge. For now, the guide is available in the Council for Crime Preventions website in Finnish and in Swedish. The guide gives instructions on how to decrease the risk of ending up as a victim of a crime and how to operate if despite these actions one ends up as a victim of a crime. The council hopes that the guide would help local police, associations for elderly and other central agents in working together to distribute the information to seniors in order to increase safety. The information printed in the guide has also been distributed in a number of newspapers.

The council strives to further increase safety for seniors through cooperation and activating the elderly in operations that increase safety. Also the professionals’ know-how on safety issues concerning the elderly shall comprehensively be increased. Development of quality work, good practices and legislation will be used in monitoring and supporting of the social welfare and public health service professionals. The special needs of the elderly will be taken into account when developing the support services for the victims of crime and allocating the resources of those services. Finally, the elderlys’ basic information on crime safety will be improved.

Prevention of violence

The violence division chose to focus on violence occurring in the work place and its prevention. The main goal was to solve how violence occurring in the work place can be prevented in an open society and thus make the work place a safe environment. Special attention was given to fields that are prone to violence, such as social welfare and public health service as well as the commercial sector.

The violence division

The division organized a seminar in Helsinki where professionals presented experiences on the prevention of violence and after treatment in Finnish work places. The mentioned challenges for after treatment are for example the culture that favors heroic deeds and hectic work life, in which after treatment rarely finds a place.

The council’s violence division suggested development and unification of registering for the police and other central operators. A more exact registering and compilation of statistics would help in a more effective developing of prevention methods as well as increase the reliability of their assessment. A pilot project has been planned to be carried out in the year 2014.

National Crime Prevention Competition on Prevention of domestic

In 2013 the nominee from Finland for the European Crime Prevention Award(ECPA) was chosen via a national competition for the first time. The winner of the National Crime Prevention Competition was the Jussi- projectof the Federation of Mother and Child Homes and Shelters. The theme of the competition was the prevention of domestic violence. The competition was arranged by the Council for Crime Prevention and there were alltogether nine projects competing.

Repeat victimization and the role of the victim

Improvement of the role of the victim has been one of the central targets for long. The momentary council has especially highlighted the prevention of repeat victimization, but has also focused on other issues related to victim policy and has discussed a potential increase in the councils role in the processing of these issues.

The Council for Crime Prevention has handed out a statement concerning a forum in victim policy. The Council for Crime Prevention could function as the forum, and the Council is prepared to set up a division that would address the issues related to victim policy, and to assess the needs of this division when creating the composition of the next council. An overview to repeat victimization by Mirka Smolej was published by the Ministry of Justice in 2013. Smolej has continued to study repeat victimization as a Senior Researcher in the Scandinavian Research Council for Criminology in cooperation with the Department of Criminal Policy of the Ministry of Justice.

Marginalization as a central risk factor of crimes

Supporting the prevention of children and youth becoming marginalized was carried out by giving a statement on the initiation of clarifications on the increase of family killings, on how to better protect children and how to prevent severe violence. The statement was given on December 28th 2013, the Day of the Innocent Children. In its statement the council highlighted six matters. First of all, the children’s foundation of well-being should not be demolished. Second of all, persistent family work directed at risk groups is indispensable. Thirdly, cooperation between authorities and the information flow about violence towards children must be secured. Fourthly, the signs of violence must be better identified. The fifth matter states, that the rights of children must be actualized better than they are at the moment. Finally, effort must be put in child welfare.

Crime prevention methods

In its aspiration to promote the evaluation of the effectiveness of crime prevention methods the Council continued to bring forth the good and promising practices in crime prevention and developed the ways of doing so on its web site and in other communication. The objective was to also bring forth foreign experiences and reviews of good practices in crime prevention in an easily approachable manner.

Promoting the evaluation of the influence of crime prevention practices and publicizing those practices that reportedly and cost-efficiently decrease criminality, risk factors related to crime or the fear of crime.

Networks of the Council for Crime Prevention

The Council for Crime Prevention arranges an annual seminar in cooperation with cities, municipalities or other local agents. In the year 2013 this seminar was organized in together with the city of Oulu, and it was held in the main library of Oulu in October. The two-day event focused on inclusion in crime prevention and on the prevention of repeat victimization and violence in close relationships. These seminars are important ways of interacting with the communities as well as with professionals. In connection with the seminar in Oulu, a safety walk was organized. In June 2012 a program for internal safety was accepted, and its Measure 1, which targets at improving the safety and comfort of residents and residential areas by utilizing neighbourhood help or a support system, is under the Council’s responsibility. Thus the neighbourhood help working group was created to answer this demand. (The working group handed in its guidelines to the council in May 2014.)

During this term the Council was also engaged in international cooperation together with representatives of other Nordic countries as well as on the EU level. The annual meetings of the Nordic criminology community are arranged by the Scandinavian Research Council for Criminology (NSfK). In 2013 the meeting was held in Norway, and on the agenda were criminal sanctions and the youth, prevention of repeat victimization, the developmental paths of local crime prevention and the various forms of neighbourhood help and neighbourly support in the Nordic countries. The Council for Crime Prevention continues to participate in publishing a journal, Journal of Scandinavian Studies in Criminology and Crime Prevention, coordinated by the Scandinavian Research Council for Criminology. The Nordic cooperation arranges research seminars as well, the one in 2013 was held in the middle of May in Finland.

The Council for Crime Prevention together with the Ministry of Justice represents Finland in the European Crime Prevention Network (EUCPN). The National representative and vice-representative of Finland are both members of the Council. The four meetings of the EUCPN covered issues such as crime prevention and adolescents, the prevention of crimes related to information security and the prevention of violence in close relationships. In the last meeting of the year 2013, the European Crime Prevention Award (ECPA) was presented. The theme was domestic violence and Finnish nominee was the Jussi- project. This was the first time that the Finnish nominee was selected on the through a competition.

This summary is based on the Council for Crime Preventions annual report of the year 2013, which was accepted in a meeting of the Council on February 7th 2014.

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