Fewest offences solved since the 1990s

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The police and the Prosecution authority completed the investigation of more than 319 000 offences in 2016, which is 3 per cent less than the year before.

In numbers, there was a decline for both solved and unsolved offences, as well as the number of charges and charged persons. The decline was mainy for persons under 30.

The decline in the total number of offences investigated is mainly due to the fall in investigated property theft. The statistics on offences investigated shows that the investigations of 99 000 property thefts were completed, which is 9.4 per cent less than the year before.

Furthermore, over the last two years there has been a decline in drug and alcohol offences and public order and integrity violations. This has contributed to the overall decline for investigated offences, which has been reduced by one quarter since the millennium.

Considering that thefts and drug and alcohol related cases make up a big share, and that such offences have a relatively short processing time within the police and Prosecution authority, many of these trends are echoed in recent years in the statistics on offences reported to the police.

On the other hand, there has been an increase in offences defined as other offences for profit and sexual offences during the last two years. Traffic offences and offences in the category violence and maltreatment are also groups of offences that had an increase from 2015 to 2016, but were at approximately the same level as in 2014.

166 200 offences solved
The number of solved offences is the lowest since the late 1990s. There has also been a long-lasting drop in unsolved offences, primarily in offences where prosecution was dropped due to insufficient information about the offender. In 2016, 68 600 offences went to trial for a final decision in court. This is on the same level as in previous years, but much fewer than in the period 1999–2008.

A total of 2 900 fewer offences were given a penal decision classified as solved in 2016 than in 2015. Distributed by group of offence, there are fewer solved drug and alcohol offences, property thefts and other offences for profit. The number of sexual offences and traffic offences was somewhat higher than the previous year.

Fewer thefts gave higher clear-up rate
Which type of penal decision is given, and whether an offence is considered solved or not, varies considerably among the different groups and types of offences.

Thus, changes in the offences that are committed are very important for the changes in the clear-up rate from year to year. For instance, the clear-up rate for all offences increased from 51.4 in 2015 to 52.0 in 2016.

Apart from the property thefts, however, the overall clear-up rate decreased, from 66.9 per cent to 65.9 per cent. In other words, last year’s increase in the total clear-up rate is due to the decline and changes in the types of thefts that are reported to the police. This has been one of the main reasons why the clear-up rate also increased in the previous three years.

Continued decline in the number of charges and charged persons
In 2016, investigations by the police and Prosecution authority resulted in a total of 169 500 charges against 80 000 persons.

This is somewhat fewer than the year before, and the trend from the previous years with fewer charges and charged persons was strengthened. Last year`s change varies considerably between the different types of offences and age groups.

Fewer young people charged with offences
Over a longer period of time, there has been a considerable reduction in the number of people charged in the younger age groups, as shown in figure 3. When we account for the population growth, the number of persons charged with offences under the age of 30 years is reduced by 31 per cent during the period 2007–2016.

A total of 35 600 persons under the age of 30 years were charged with on or more offences in 2016; 3 per cent fewer than in 2015. A continuous low share of persons charged with offences of violence in the previous years has contributed to a general decrease in the number of young persons charged.

In the past few years there have been several other types of offences – especially property theft, drug and alcohol offences and public order and integrity violations – that have led to a further decline.

Among those under 30 years of age in 2016, there are for instance 4 200 persons charged with theft as principal offence, as theft is now defined in the new crime statistics. That is almost 11 per cent fewer than in the year before, and more than 19 per cent fewer than in 2014.

The decline of recent years is biggest for aggravated thefts. Among those under 30 years of age, almost 8 per cent fewer persons were charged with narcotic offences as principal offence.

The decline was bigger for those who were charged with the types of narcotic offences that are classified as a crime under the Penal Code, than for those charged for the less serious violations of the Act relating to medicines etc. In 2016 there were also almost 8 per cent fewer persons charged with public order and integrity violations as their principal offence in the age group.

Young men most overrepresented
As before, young people in the age group 18–20 years are still most overrepresented among persons charged with offences – for both sexes. In 2016, 6.6 per cent of all men in the resident population aged 18–20 years were charged with one or more offence.

The corresponding share among women was 1.4 per cent. As shown in figure 4, men in all ages are charged with offences much more often than women of the same age, and out of all persons charged with an offence, somewhat more than 83 per cent were men.

10 000 persons charged with violence and maltreatment
In 2016, the police and Prosecution authority completed the investigation of 32 500 offences of violence and maltreatment. Among these, somewhat more than half were considered solved.

The investigations led to 16 200 charges for violence and maltreatment. Out of these charges, somewhat more than 6 300 were for assault, 1 250 for bodily harm, more than 800 for maltreatment in close relations and more than 1 500 for assault of a public servant. Among the charges for violence and maltreatment, there were also nearly 4 000 charges for threats and 1 500 charges for reckless behaviour and stalking.

A total of 10 000 persons were charged with one or more offences of violence and maltreatment in 2016. Among these violators, more than 15 per cent were also charged with other types of offences with a higher maximum sentence under the Penal code, and therefore classified under another principal group of offences.

Thus, 8 500 persons were charged with violence and maltreatment as their principal offence.


Source. SSB / Norway Today