Drugs crime surge in Western Uusimaa shows in young offender rates

The number of young people - including children aged 15 and under - involved in drugs crimes has increased in the area.

File picture showing detail on police uniform / Credit: News Now Finland

The number of drugs offenses in Western Uusimaa increased almost 30% in January to September compared with the previous year, and police say there’s a particular problem with young people involved in the drugs scene.

The biggest jump was in basic drugs offenses up 41% from last year, although the largest overall category of offenses is for people caught using illegal drugs, with 1,300 cases – up 300 from 2019 according to police.

The region’s drugs problems, say police, are also reflected in the number of drunk drivers who are also under the influence of narcotics – even though the number of alcohol-only impaired drivers falls.

“Driving while intoxicated also accounts for almost half of the increase in drug use offenses, as in these cases drug use offenses are generally suspected in addition to drink-driving” says Inspector Teemu Saukoniemi from Länsi Uusimaa Police.

“During the same period, the number of drunk drivers has decreased by 87 cases” he notes.

Young people increasingly involved in drugs-related crimes

Acccording to the new statistics, released on Friday, the number of young people caught up in drugs offenses and substance use in the region has increased as well.

For children aged under 15, there was an increase of 20 drugs-related cases; while for young people aged 15-17 there were 34 more cases compared to last year.

Police say that more drugs are more commonly available for young people than before and often associated with violent crimes among them like assaults and robberies.

“Drug-related information to the police has increased. The police work extensively with stakeholders to reduce drug-related harm and develop common preventive approaches, says Commissioner Hannu Väänänen .

So far this year in Western Uusimaa there have been a number of robberies that police suspect were committed by young people, including under-age children, who officers believe were involved in one way or another with drugs.