Fear of crime

Updated: 19 Jun 2019
Next update: 3 Jun 2020

The indicator describes the share of persons aged between 15 and 74 that have, in the last 12 months, feared becoming victims of violence outdoors in the evening, in the course of their duties or perpetrated by a family member. The information is based on the National Crime Victim Survey, which is conducted both as a mail and Internet survey.

The National Crime Victim Survey is targeted at persons aged 15 to 74 who have a permanent address in Finland. The survey participants are selected randomly from the Digital and Population Data Services Agency’s (The Finnish Digital Agency) population information system. In 2018, a total of 5,455 people took part in the survey (response rate 39.0%). The survey covers the incidence of becoming a victim of threats, physical violence and property offences, as well as fear of violence and the interpretation of violence. The survey also describes total levels of violence and property offences, including cases not reported to the police and thus excluded from the statistics on offences. The survey is intended to be repeated annually.

A new form of the National Crime Victim Survey was conducted for the first time in 2012. The national victimisation surveys conducted between 1980 and 2009 covered the incidence of becoming a victim of various accidents in addition to crimes. The National Crime Victim Survey differs in terms of methodology and content from the earlier victimisation surveys, and the results are not directly comparable.


Fear of street violence decreased in 2018

People mostly fear violence outside the home in the evenings. In the 2018 National Crime Victim Survey, 29 per cent of respondents said they were afraid of becoming a victim of violence outside the home in the evening. Fourteen per cent of respondents had feared being the target of violence in the workplace or when carrying out their duties and around four per cent had feared domestic violence perpetrated by a family member.

The share of persons afraid of street violence decreased by approximately four percentage points from the previous year, but it was at the same level as in the years leading up to this. Fear of domestic and workplace violence was at the same level as in previous years. Fear of domestic violence has remained at the same level throughout the review period (2012 to 2018).

Women tend to fear becoming a victim of violence more often than men. Altogether, 37 per cent of women in the 2018 survey reported being afraid of becoming a victim of street violence at least once in the past year, whereas 21 per cent of men reported experiencing the same fear. Women are also clearly more afraid of workplace violence than men. Nineteen per cent of women reported being afraid of workplace violence; the equivalent figure for men was nine per cent. Similarly, the percentage of women afraid of domestic violence was higher than that for men.

When examined by different age group, there was a pattern to the fear of violence that coincided with the risk of violence in the different age groups. Both the fear and the experience of becoming a victim of violence were rarer among respondents aged over 55. Fifteen per cent of those in this age group reported being afraid of street violence in the past year. Among those aged under 35, the share of persons who feared street violence was triple compared to the oldest age group. Fear of workplace violence was mostly reported by respondents aged between 25 and 54.