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Turmiolan Tommin hahmo on toiminut varoittavana esimerkkinä juopottelun ja rikollisen elämän vaaroista. Kuvassa Frans Oskar Liewendalin painokuva vuodelta 1858. Kuvalähde: Museovirasto, Historian kuvakokoelma.

Frans Oskar Liewendal’s print from 1858, depicting the dangers of drunken and criminal life. Finnish Heritage Agency, Historical Picture Collection.

New database boasts more than 200 years of data on crime and punishment in the Nordics

Historical Criminal Statistics, a database and a massive undertaking by University Lecturer in Criminology Miikka Vuorela at the University of Eastern Finland, makes statistics on crime and punishment openly accessible to everyone. The database covers the period from 1810 to 2022.

In the Nordic countries, data on crime and punishment have been entered into various records for more than 200 years. However, accessing especially the earliest records has been difficult, requiring information to be searched from handwritten documents, year by year. Now, historical criminal statistics are accessible to everyone in an open database available online.

University Lecturer Miikka Vuorela at the University of Eastern Finland Law School has collected and compiled a database of statistics on crime and punishment in Finland, Denmark, Norway and Sweden, dating back to the early 1800s.

“The openly accessible statistics show how many convictions there have been of each crime annually, how many crimes have been reported to the police, what kind of punishments have been sentenced, and how many prisoners there have been,” Vuorela says, explaining the outcomes of his undertaking.

Statistics in the database are available from 1810 to 2022, accumulating gradually depending on the available information in the original sources. For instance, Finnish statistics on convictions and punishments are available from 1842 to 2022, prison population statistics from 1810 to 2022, and statistics on offenses reported to the police from 1927 to 2022.

The database is an internationally unique collection of detailed criminal justice statistics from four countries. Most of the data has never been published as uniform time series before, but only in the form of annual governmental reports.

“The Nordic countries are rather unique, as they’ve been collecting criminal justice statistics for such a long time. In many other countries, compiling a similar database might not even be possible,” Vuorela points out.

The user-friendly database not only enables new historical and comparative research on crime and criminal policy in the Nordic countries but is also a wonderful resource for all those interested in exploring the history of crime and punishment.

The database is available at:

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