The Malta Independent 19 March 2019, Tuesday

Crime reports have decreased when they should have increased – criminologist

Friday, 22 February 2019, 15:38 Last update: about 24 days ago

Reported crime statistics for 2018 show that reports have decreased to 34 crimes per 1,000 persons, in relation to the 42 crimes per 1,000 persons reported in 2017 when the increase in population and tourism on the island should have produced an increase in said reports, Criminologist Professor Saviour Formosa said on Friday.

The total reported crimes stood at 15,925 as at end 2018, a 7.1% decrease of 1,211 crimes from the 2017 figure.

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With regards to the predicted increases in crime due to increased resident population and tourist arrivals, they were projected to have increased by 1,563 residential victims, and 3,588 tourist victims.

The Reported Crime Annual Report for the year 2018 was released on Friday by CrimeMalta Observatory, an entity set up specifically to create a medium for crime-related information and to serve as a Maltese focal point for the reduction of crime and spreading awareness on safety.

Minister for Home Affairs and National Security Michael Farrugia maintained that in spite of the positive reaction to the results, there is still much work to be done.

According to the report, Malta’s reported crime rate is currently below the 59 crimes per 1000 persons EU average, with the Czech Republic and Poland slightly above at 36 crimes per 1000, and Lithuania at 27 crimes per 1000.

Sweden, the United Kingdom, and Finland take the top spots at 138, 110, and 100 crimes per 1000 persons respectively.

 

Money Laundering & Perceptions

Online surveys note that perceptions of crime remain low in the vast majority of areas, although 71.53% believe that crime has been increasing in the past 3 years, and 65.69% believe that there is a problem of corruption and bribery on the island.

Whilst the former perception is misguided when taking in to account the current statistics, there has been a dramatic increase in financial related crimes. Money laundering as recorded for the first time as a distinct category in 2017 registered a 94% increase in 2018, reaching 33 cases from a count of 17 cases in 2017.

Notably, in terms of societal reaction, moral panic was pinpointed as played a part in rendering a perception that crime is increasing, something which has been attributed to increased visibility of serious crimes on social media.

 

Pickpocketing & Theft Reports Fall

Pickpocketing has been noted as a major issue in recent years, but over the 2018 period the island saw a decrease of 46% of 995 offences to 1,149 reports, from the 2,144 reported in 2017.

Thefts from beaches are at their lowest point in 14 years, contrasting sharply with the 31% increase in 2017. The 46% decrease to 152 reports was attributed to more awareness, crime prevention and actual insitu mitigation.

Theft in and of itself also reached its lowest in 14 years when the rate in 2014 was that of 62.4% of all reported offences. It now comprises of 41% of all offences reported to the Police, down from 48.2 in 2017.

 

Men are the primary victims

The primary victims of crime are, for the most part, male, with the growing percentage currently standing at 57.6%, and female victims making up 42.2% of the total amount.

 

Males were mainly victimised for arson, violence against public officer, forgery, damage, bodily harm and fraud, whilst females were mainly victims of prostitution, trafficking in persons, crimes against public peace, sexual offences, pornography and domestic violence.

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