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Persons suspected of offences

A total of just over 107,000 individuals were registered as suspects in connection with criminal offences over the course of 2013. This represents a decrease of 9 percent by comparison with the previous year.

The decrease is found in relation to most of the larger crime categories. The number of persons suspected of crimes against the person decreased by 12% – where the number of registered suspects declined in relation to assault, unlawful threat and non-sexual molestation. The number of persons suspected of offences against property decreased by 13 percent.

Between the mid-1970s and the early 1990s the number of registered suspects rose from 81,200 to peak at 111,000 in 1993. Until the end of the 1990s the number of registered suspects declined, but has increased once again, with a new peak in 2010 at 126,000 registered suspects. Since there has also been an increase in the size of the population that has reached the age of criminal responsibility (15 years), the increase in the number of registered suspects becomes smaller when it is viewed in relation to this population trend.

Number of persons suspected of offences per 100,000 of the population in the age groups, 2013.

Number of persons suspected of offences per 100,000 of the population in the age groups, 2013.

Source: Brå, 2014

The 107,000 individuals registered as crime suspects in 2013 were together suspected in connection with a total of 319,000 offences (referred to in the statistics as “offence participations”). Drug offences accounted for 20 percent of the offences that were linked to a registered suspect in 2013. This can be compared to the fact that drug offences make up just 7 percent of reported crime. This difference is due to drug offences being a crime category where a suspect is relatively often identified. Drug offences, together with offences against the person, traffic offences and theft offences, constitute one of the most common types of crime among the offences that have been linked to a registered suspect. The four crime categories mentioned each account for 15–20 percent of all the crimes linked to registered suspects.

In 2013, the number of registered suspects declined in all age groups. The decline was greatest in the age group 15–17, where the number of registered suspects declined by 14 percent.

Since 2004, the number of suspects has increased in all age groups, except for those in the age groups 15-17 years and 30-49 years which have decreased. The lowest age at which an individual can be registered as a crime suspect is the age of criminal responsibility, which in Sweden is 15 years. As a proportion of all those registered as suspects in connection with criminal offences in 2013, persons between 15 and 20 years account for 21 percent of the total whilst at the same time accounting for 9 percent of the population. Among older age-groups, persons aged 50 or over accounted for 17 percent of registered suspects in 2012 and 45 percent of the population. Thus the number of registered suspects in relation to population size is greater among younger age groups than it is among older segments of the population. Among registered youth suspects aged between 15 and 20, drug and theft offences constitute the most common offence types, whereas traffic and drug offences are the most common types of offence among those aged over 20.

The majority of those suspected of offences are men. In 2013, men accounted for approximately 81 percent of all those registered as suspects in connection with crime. The proportion of women among all those suspected of offences increased successively from 13 to 19 percent over the period between 1980 and 1996. Subsequent to this point, the proportion of registered suspects comprised of women has remained relatively stable at a level of around 18 to 21 percent. In 2013, approximately 20,400 women were registered as suspects, which represents the same proportion as last year.

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