This report reviews suspected hate crimes reported to the police in Finland in 2010. The statistics are based on crime reports retrieved from the national police information system. Reports on racist crime have been published by the Police College of Finland and the Ministry of Interior's Police Department since 1998. In 2009 the system of compiling information on racist crime was developed into a more comprehensive system of monitoring hate crime. For the purpose of this report, hate crime has been defined as a crime against a person, group, somebody's property, institution, or a representative of these, motivated by prejudice or hostility towards the victim's real or perceived ethnic or national origin, religion or belief, sexual orientation, transgender identity or appearance, or disability.
In the target year, the police filed 860 reports on suspected hate crime cases. There represents a 15 per cent decrease in comparison with the previous year. The majority, 86 per cent, of the cases were racist incidents. Cases motivated by the victim's religious background constituted 6 per cent of the cases. Sexual orientation was the motive in 5 per cent of the cases, and in 2.4 per cent it was disability. Five hate crimes (0.6%) were identified as being based on the victim's transgender identity or appearance.
In the target year, 741 reports of offences with racist overtones were found in the police information system. In the majority of the cases, racism was directed towards a member of an ethnic or national minority by a member of the majority population. The most common suspected crimes were assaults. The most common scenes of the suspected racist crimes were public outdoor locations such as roads or city market places, as well as restaurants and their vicinity. As in previous years, the majority of racist crimes were committed in the evening and at night. In relation to the number of foreign citizens resident in Finland, the citizens of Somalia experienced the highest frequency of racially motivated crime in 2010.
In the majority of hate crimes based on religion, the target was Christianity. Most crimes were verbal insults or threats. The number of hate crimes motivated by the victim's real or perceived sexual orientation, transgender identity or appearance, is somewhat higher than in the previous year. Hate crimes based on the victim's disability mainly involved discrimination and verbal insults.