Estonian crime numbers up in 2023

A total of 27,418 crimes were recorded in Estonia in 2023, an increase of seven per cent over the previous year, the Estonian Prosecutor’s Office said in its annual report.

Crimes classified as mass crimes, or theft, assault, drunk driving and serious public order offences, accounted for 64 per cent of all recorded crimes, slightly higher than the average for the previous three years. While the number of mass crimes has tended to fall since 2021, in 2023 there was an eight per cent increase on the previous year to 17,493 offences.

A total of 9,697 thefts were registered during the year, 21 per cent more than in 2022, with the increase mainly due to crimes registered in Southern Estonia.

There were 5,447 cases of physical abuse, 28 per cent more than the previous year.

Aggravated public order offences increased only in the north east

There were fewer cases of aggravated public disorder and drink-driving, which fell from 264 in 2022 to 215 last year and from 2,428 to 2,134 respectively.

Alcoholics sleeping rough in Kopli, Tallinn. Photo by Mirjam Matiisen.

Concerning aggravated public order offences, the number of such offences decreased in three of the four regional prosecutor’s offices in Estonia, and increased only in the Viru regional prosecutor’s office in the north-east of the country.    

In 2023, final decisions were taken on 7,234 people involved in 13,774 offences, which is 398 fewer than the previous year.

The number of dismissals by the prosecution has increased steadily over the years, as has their share in the total number of procedural decisions. The share of referrals to court in the total number of procedural decisions continues to decrease – whereas in 2017 71 per cent of all procedural decisions referred the case to court, in 2023 such cases accounted for 47 per cent.

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