Reported offences

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In 2020 approximately 1,570,000 offences were reported to the police, the customs authority or the prosecution service. This represents an increase of 18,500 reported offences by comparison with the figure for 2019.

In particular, an increase was noted in the offence categories criminal damage and drug offences. The types of crimes in drug offences for which the number of reported offences increased the most between 2019 and 2020 were possession and personal misuse.

During the same period, the number of reported offences decreased in the category fraud. The types of offences in the category that decreased most were payment card fraud. Since 2011, the number of reported offences has increased by approximately 151,000 (+11 %). Since 1975, the trend in the total number of reported offences has been characterised by a continuous increase. However, the rate of increase, i.e. the percentage change over time, was strongest to the end of the 1990s, the rate of increase after that was lower, until another increase started in the mid-2000s.

The increase has occurred across the majority of offence categories during the period between 1975 and 2014. Reported car crimes including vehicle theft and theft out of and from a motor vehicle, however, have fallen since 1975, and are thus exceptions to this general trend. The number of reported assaults, including aggravated assaults, has increased four-fold since 1975 and the number of reported sexual offences has undergone a seven-fold increase.

Reported crimes against the person are numerically dominated by assaults, unlawful threats and non-sexual molestation. Over the course of 2020, a total of approximately 83,200 assault offences were reported, which constitutes a decrease of 2 per cent by comparison with the figure for 2019. Assaults on women aged 18 years or over increased by 3 per cent to approximately 29,200 reported offences. In addition, there were a total of 1,530 reported cases of gross violation of a woman’s integrity. The number of reported assaults against men aged 18 years or over amounted to approximately 29,400 offences which was a decrease of 4 per cent since the previous year.

About 25,000 sexual offences were reported in 2020, which represents an increase of 8 per cent since 2019. There was an 9 per cent increase in the number of reported rape offences, with 9,360 reported rapes being registered in 2020. The number of reported crimes of sexual molestation decreased by 3 per cent by comparison with the figure for 2019, to approximately 10,100 cases.

Slightly over 421,000 theft offences were reported in 2020, which represents a decrease of 14,500 reported offences in relation to the figure for the previous year. This category of crimes accounts for 27 per cent of the total number of reported offences. Subsequent to this point, the number of theft offences has declined. Approximately 10,100 car thefts were reported in 2020, along with 49,500 thefts out of motor vehicles. The number of car thefts declined by 2 per cent, and the number of thefts out of motor vehicles increased with 11 per cent compared with the figures for 2019.

In 2020, the number of reported robberies decreased with 2 per cent compared with the number reported in 2019, with 8,810 reported offences being registered. Muggings, which comprise approximately 85 per cent of reported robbery offences, decreased by 5 per cent to 6,900 in 2020. A total of 554 robberies of shops and stores were reported in 2020, which constitutes an increase of 12 per cent by comparison with 2019. A total of 5 bank robberies were reported in 2020. A total of approximately 3,410 incidents of violence against public servants (police, security officers etc.) were reported in 2020, this was a decrease of 14 per cent compared with the number reported in 2019. A total of about 14,700 residential burglaries were reported in 2020, which is unchanged by comparison with the figure for 2019. The number of reported fraud offences decreased by 11 per cent since last year, with 218,000 offences being reported.

Reported criminal damage offences decreased by a total of 14 per cent, to 234,000 crimes.

In addition, reported drug offences increased by 10 per cent by comparison with the figures for 2019, to approximately 124,000 reported offences. During the year a total of approximately 84,400 road traffic offences were reported, which is an increase by 1 per cent compared to 2019.

Processed offences

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1,620,000 offences were processed in Sweden in 2020, which represents an increase of 47 500 processed offences by comparison with the figure for 2019. Of the investigated offences 30% were person-based cleared during 2020, which is the same rate compared with the result of 2019. Of the total number of processed offences during the year 14% were person-based cleared during 2020, which is also the same rate compared with the result of 2019.

The processed offences describe the total outflow of crimes handled by the police, prosecutor or other investigative authority over the course of the year in which a decision has been taken. However, the offences may have been reported the same year or during a previous year. The statistics are broken down based upon investigated and uninvestigated offences. Investigated offences are processed offences where an investigation has been initiated and where a decision has been taken with respect to the offence during the reporting year. Investigation means preliminary investigation, simplified investigation, or an investigation under the Youthful Offenders Act. Uninvestigated offences are processed offences where a decision has been taken with respect to the offence during the course of the reporting year without a criminal investigation having been initiated.

The statistic presents two measures, the prosecution rate and the person-based clearance rate. The statistic can be primarily used as a rough indicator of the ability of the police and other criminal investigatory authorities, to prosecute crimes that have been investigated. The prosecution rate reports person-based clearances during the course of the year expressed as a percentage of investigated offences during the same period, removing, however, offences subject to investigation-limitation decisions during the year. The person-based clearance rate reports person-based clearances during the course of the year expressed as a percentage of processed offences during the same year.

Processed offences – broken down on the basis of investigated and uninvestigated offences

1,620,000 offences were processed in 2020. A majority (83%) of the processed offences were reported during the same year, while 13% of the offences were reported in 2019. The remaining offences were reported prior to this.

For 51% of the processed offences in 2019, an investigation had been carried out, while the other (49%) were uninvestigated. This represents a change compared to the previous year when the investigated offences accounted for 49% and uninvestigated offences for 51%.

Of the total number of processed offences during the year, 14% were person-based cleared while 6% where subject to investigation-limitation decisions. An investigation-limitation decision can occur both during the investigation or without any investigation having been initiated (the latter are commonly referred to as uninvestigated offences). Of the processed offences, there was a limited preliminary investigation of 88% after an investigation had been commenced, and in 12% of the cases no investigation had been commenced.

For the remaining processed offences, other types of decisions were taken; for example, amongst other processed offences which were investigated, there were offences for which the file was closed due to the fact that no investigation results had been achieved, or since it was concluded, after the investigation, that a crime had not been committed. Other processed offences which were uninvestigated also includes, for example, offences for which the matter was closed due to a lack of investigation data or due to the fact that the offence was committed abroad.

The figure below reports all processed offences broken down based on the processing categories ‘investigated’ and ‘uninvestigated offences’, and the decision types ‘person-based clearances’ and ‘offences with a limited preliminary investigation’.

Investigated offences 51 % (+2)

Uninvestigated offences 49 % (-2)

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Processed offences

Categories of processed offences 2019 and comparison with 2018 in parentheses:

  • Uninvestigated offences (other): 50% (±0)
  • Uninvestigated offences. Subject to investigation-limitation: 1% (±0)
  • Investigated offences. Subject to investigation-limitation: 4% (±0)
  • Investigated offences (other): 32% (±0)
  • Person-based cleared offences: 14% (±0)
Table. All processed offences for 2020 broken down based on the processing categories ‘investigated’ and ‘uninvestigated’ offences, and the decision types ‘person-based clearances’ and ‘offences subject to investigation-limitation decisions’. The parenthesis in the figure presents the comparison with the result of 2019 in percentage point.

Uninvestigated offences (other)

Uninvestigated off. Subject to investigation-limitation

Investigated off. Subject to investigation-limitation

Investigated offences (other)

Person-based cleared offences

48% (-2)

1% (±0)

5% (+1)

32% (±0)

14% (±0)

 

Person-based clearances, prosecution rate, and person-based clearance rate

Person-based cleared offences are processed offences for which at least one suspect has been prosecuted through the commencement of a prosecution, the issuance of a summary sanction order or a waiver of prosecution. In 2020, person-based cleared offences were achieved for 224,000 offences.

In 2020, the prosecution rate was 30%, which is the same rate compared with the result of 2019. The prosecution rate reports the person-based clearances expressed as a percentage of all investigated offences, excluding offences subject to investigation-limitation decisions.

The person-based clearance rate was 14% in 2020, which is the same rate compared with the result of 2019. The person-based clearance rate reports the person-based cleared offences as a percentage of all investigated offences.

There are large differences in the prosecution rate and person-based clearance rate between various types of offences. To a certain extent, this is a consequence of the fact that the offences differ to varying degrees as to how difficult they are to clear. Table 1 sets forth first the levels for processed offences and investigated offences and the percentage of investigated offences out of the total number of processed offences. The number of person-based clearances and the person-based and prosecution rate for 2020 are then reported. The reporting is provided for all offences as well as for 7 broad categories of offences.

The patterns which can be noted in the table include that, for the categories of offences in which a low share of the processed offences are investigated, the difference between the prosecution rate and the person-based clearance rate is greater than for categories of offences in which a large portion of the processed offences are investigated. For example, for narcotics offences in which there is often a suspect and in almost all cases an investigation is carried out (99% of the offences 2020), there is a small difference between the prosecution rate and the person-based clearance rate as compared with other categories of offences.

Lethal violence

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Murder, manslaughter, and assault with a lethal outcome are usually jointly designated lethal violence. In 2019, 111 cases of lethal violence were confirmed in Sweden. The average of lethal violence for the last ten years is 96 cases per year.

In 2019, 111 cases of lethal violence were confirmed in Sweden. This can be seen from the statistic regarding confirmed cases of lethal violence. This is an increase by 3 cases, as compared with 2018.

Since 2002, when Brå started producing the statistics, the level of confirmed cases of lethal violence has fluctuated between 68 and 113 cases. Up until 2014, the development of the number of cases was marked by an overall downward trend with relatively large variations from year to year. In the last five years (2015-2019), the number of cases has remained at a higher level than previous years, thereby breaking the downward trend.

Gender

In 2019, the victim was a woman in 25 cases (23 per cent) and a man in 86 cases (77 per cent). As compared with 2018, the share of women has decreased by 8 cases. Meanwhile, the share of men has increased by 11 cases.

In relation to the population, the number of confirmed cases of lethal violence was 1.08 cases per 100,000 inhabitants in 2019, a slightly higher level than in 2018 (1.06). The number of women decreased from 0.65 to 0.49, whilst the number of men increased from 1.47 to 1.66 (number of victims per 100,000 inhabitants).

Against someone in close relationship (partner or ex-partner)

In 18 cases of the confirmed cases of lethal violence in 2019, victims and perpetrators were related by a close relationship (partner or ex-partner), which accounted for 16 per cent of all cases of lethal violence. In 2018, the corresponding number was 26 cases (24%).

The number of cases of lethal violence against women in a close relationship in 2019 amounted to 16 cases, which corresponded to 64 per cent of all cases of lethal violence with female victims during the year. The corresponding number for male victims was 2 cases in 2019, which constituted 2 per cent of all cases of lethal violence against men.

Use of firearms

A firearm was used in 41 per cent of the observed cases of lethal violence in 2019; which was slightly higher than in 2018 (40 %). This equals an increase by 2 cases between the two years (from 43 to 45). Since 2011, when the use of firearms was first introduced in the statistics, the number of cases of lethal violence with the use of a firearm has more than doubled, from 17 to 45 cases.

In the cases where a firearm was used in 2019, the victim was a man in 89 per cent of the cases (40 cases), and in the other 5 cases the victim was a woman. The gender ratio for male victims in the cases where a firearm was used has been pending between 82 to 98 per cent with an average of 90 per cent during the period 2011-2019.

Regional breakdown

The majority (64 %) of the confirmed cases of lethal violence in 2019 were reported in one of the major metropolitan regions of Stockholm, Väst and Syd. This level has fluctuated between 64 and 75 per cent during the years 2010-2019. The Stockholm region increased its number with 6 cases (from 28 to 34 cases), as both Väst region and Syd region decreased (the former from 24 to 18 cases and the latter from 24 to 19 cases).

Processed offences

Categories of processed offences 2019 and comparison with 2018 in parentheses:

  • Uninvestigated offences (other): 50% (±0)
  • Uninvestigated offences. Subject to investigation-limitation: 1% (±0)
  • Investigated offences. Subject to investigation-limitation: 4% (±0)
  • Investigated offences (other): 32% (±0)
  • Person-based cleared offences: 14% (±0)

Person-based clearances, prosecution rate, and person-based clearance rate

Person-based cleared offences are processed offences for which at least one suspect has been prosecuted through the commencement of a prosecution, the issuance of a summary sanction order or a waiver of prosecution. In 2019, person-based cleared offences were achieved for 212,000 offences.

In 2019, the prosecution rate was 30%, which is the same rate compared with the result of 2018. The prosecution rate reports the person-based clearances expressed as a percentage of all investigated offences, excluding offences subject to investigation-limitation decisions.

The person-based clearance rate was 14% in 2019, which is the same rate compared with the result of 2018. The person-based clearance rate reports the person-based cleared offences as a percentage of all investigated offences.

There are large differences in the prosecution rate and person-based clearance rate between various types of offences. To a certain extent, this is a consequence of the fact that the offences differ to varying degrees as to how difficult they are to clear. Table 1 sets forth first the levels for processed offences and investigated offences and the percentage of investigated offences out of the total number of processed offences. The number of person-based clearances and the person-based and prosecution rate for 2019 are then reported. The reporting is provided for all offences as well as for 7 broad categories of offences.

The patterns which can be noted in the table include that, for the categories of offences in which a low share of the processed offences are investigated, the difference between the prosecution rate and the person-based clearance rate is greater than for categories of offences in which a large portion of the processed offences are investigated. For example, for narcotics offences in which there is often a suspect and in almost all cases an investigation is carried out (98% of the offences 2019), there is a small difference between the prosecution rate and the person-based clearance rate as compared with other categories of offences.

As an element of the work involved in adapting the products in the crime statistics to the target groups and ensuring the quality of these products, starting with the 2014 reporting year, Brå has publish new statistics regarding Processed Offences. The new statistics are a revision of the statistics for Cleared Offences thus replacing these statistics. The purpose of the statistics remains unchanged and, as was previously the case, is intended to provide an overall impression of the processing of crimes by the investigative authorities. The primary purpose of the revision is to increase the relevancy of the statistics and improve the reliability of the various categories and scales employed in the statistics.

Commencing with the 2014 reporting year, the statistics cover all crimes for which a decision has been taken during the course of the year, instead of, as previously, where only a portion of the crimes in which a decision was taken were covered. The processed offences thus describe the total outflow of crimes handled by the police, prosecutor or other investigative authority over the course of the year in which a decision has been taken. However, the offences may have been reported the same year or during a previous year.

The revision introduces new, more reliable grounds for categorizing the offences in which a decision has been taken. Among other things, the statistics are broken down based upon investigated and uninvestigated offences. Investigated offences are processed offences where an investigation has been initiated and where a decision has been taken with respect to the offence during the reporting year. Investigation means preliminary investigation, simplified investigation, or an investigation under the Youthful Offenders Act. Uninvestigated offences are processed offences where a decision has been taken with respect to the offence during the course of the reporting year without a criminal investigation having been initiated.

With the revision, a new statistic is also launched – the prosecution rate– as a supplement to the person-based clearances rate. The prosecution rate reports person-based clearances during the course of the year expressed as a percentage of investigated offences during the same period, removing, however, offences subject to investigation-limitation decisions during the year. The statistic can be primarily used as a rough indicator of the ability of the police and other criminal investigatory authorities, to prosecute crimes that have been investigated.

Persons suspected of offences

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During 2019, 189,000 persons were suspected of offences, which is an increase since 2018 with 8,420 persons (+5 %). Over a period of ten years (2010–2019) the number has decreased with 6,860 persons (−3 %).

Revision of the statistics

The statistics of persons suspected of offences was revised 2018 to improve the quality and usability of the statistics. The revised statistics includes all persons suspected of offences, while the previous statistics only included the persons still suspected after a crime investigation. The revised statistics is therefore not comparable with the previous statistics. The revised statistics replaces the previous statistics and is available from 2007.

The statistics of persons suspected of offences is based on the persons registered by Swedish Police, Swedish Custom and Swedish Prosecution Authority as suspected of offences. The statistics gives an overview of the number of people suspected of offences in Sweden, type of crime and how the persons are distributed by sex and age. The statistics does not include persons which have not reached the age of criminal responsibility (15 years).

Summary of the results 2019

During 2019, 189,000 persons were suspected of offences, which is an increase since 2018 with 8,420 persons (+5 %). Over a period of ten years (2010–2019) the number has decreased with 6,860 persons (−3 %).

Persons suspected of offence in proportion of the population has also decreased since 2010, from 2,510 to 2,220 persons per 100,000 persons of the population that has reached the age of criminal responsibility (15 years).

Compared with the figure for 2018, the number of suspects has decreased for theft, robbery and other offences of stealing by 4 per cent. During the same period, the number of suspects increased in the offence categories, fraud (+15 %), and crimes against the Narcotics Drugs (Penal) Act (+8 %).

Of the persons suspected of offences during 2019, 39,800 were women and 149,000 were men, this gives a distribution of 21 per cent women and 79 per cent men. The distribution of women and men has been approximately the same over the past 10 years.

Of the persons suspected of offence 2019 a majority (80 %) was aged of 21 and over at the time of the crime. Persons aged 15 to 20 years account for 20 per cent of the total, whilst at the same time accounting for 8 per cent of the population. Among older age groups, persons aged 50 and over accounted for 18 per cent of the registered suspects in 2019 and 46 per cent 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 15 to 20 years, crimes against person, drug and theft offences constitute the most common offence types, whereas offences against the Road Traffic Offences Act also is a common type of offence among those aged 20 and over.

Processed offences linked to a suspect

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During 2019, 566,000 offences linked to a suspect were processed, which is an increase of 29,000 (+5 %) by comparison with the figure for 2018. Since 2010, the number of processed offences linked to a suspect has increased by approximately 11,300 (+2 %).

The statistics of processed offences linked to a suspect is based on offences and suspects registered and processed by Swedish Police, Swedish Customs and Swedish Prosecution Authority. A processed offence refers to an offence were a decision has been taken which entails that the processing of the offence was completed. Offences with person-based clearances are processed offences where a conviction decision (a decision to indict, issue a summary sanction order, or waive prosecution) has been made.

The statistics gives an overview of the number of processed offences linked to a suspect and is presented by the type of offence, type of decision and sex and age of the suspected person. The statistics does not include processed offences linked to suspects under the age of criminal responsibility (15 years).

The statistics of processed offences linked to a suspect is new from 2016, but it is available annually from 2007.

During 2019, 566,000 offences linked to a suspect were processed, which is an increase of 29,000 (+5 %) by comparison with the figure for 2018. Since 2010, the number of processed offences linked to a suspect has increased by approximately 11,300 (+2 %). The most common crime category among the processed offences linked to a suspect in 2019, was Crimes against person, which constituted 24 per cent of the total. Other common offences were Crimes against the Narcotics Drugs Act (19 %), Theft and Robbery (11 %) and Crimes against the Road Traffic Offences Act (11 %).

For 225,000 (40 %) of the processed offences linked to a suspect, a person based clearances¹ (a decision to indict, issue a summary sanction order, or waive prosecution) was made in 2019, which constitutes an decrease of 880 (±0 %) by comparison with the figure for 2018. Since 2010, the number has decreased by 14 per cent. The proportion of person based clearances has decreased by 2 percentage point since 2018, and by 7 percentage point since 2010. The rest of the offences linked to a suspect have been subject to investigation limitation decision (10 %) or other type of decision (50 %). The proportion of the offences linked to a suspect which was subject to investigation limitation decisions have increased since 2010, with 3 percentage points.

The majority (461,000 or 81 per cent) of the processed offences in 2019 was linked to a male suspect; this is a pattern which has been stable for the past ten years. Of the processed offences linked to a male suspect, 40 per cent has been processed with a person based clearance; this proportion has decreased by 2 percentage points since 2018. Of the processed offences linked to a female suspect, 38 per cent was processed with person based clearances, a decrease by 2 percentage points since 2018.

Of the processed offences, 97,800 were linked to a suspect aged 15 to 20 years, which constitutes 17 per cent of all the processed offences linked to a suspect. The rest of the offences (466,000 or 83 per cent) were linked to persons aged 21 and over. About two out of five (42 %) of the offences linked to persons aged 15 to 20 years, were processed with person based clearance in 2019. The corresponding proportion of person based clearances for offenses linked to persons aged 21 and over was 39 per cent. The proportions have decreased over time, with 1 respectively 3 percentage points since 2010.

Persons found guilty of offences

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Statistics relating to persons convicted for criminal offences present those found guilty either by court (county court convictions) or by prosecutors (through prosecutor fines or waivers of prosecution).

In 2019, there were approximately 104,000 so-called conviction decisions laid down by the courts or the prosecutors. This is a 3 percent increase compared to 2018.

Since 1975, the number of convictions has decreased by 67 percent. The greatest reduction came at the end of the 1970s in connection with the decriminalization of public drunkenness. Since then the trend has been more stable, but there has nonetheless been a continuous reduction in number of convictions. In part the reduction can be explained by the fact that over time the police have received extended authority to issue summary fines for a larger number of petty offences. These are presented separately in the conviction statistics. Part of the decrease, particularly between the years 1994—1996, can also be explained if viewed in relation to the fact that the number of cleared offences also fell during this period of time.

Road traffic offences constitute the most common offence type for which someone is convicted. In 2019, offences against various road traffic statutes were the principal offence in 31 percent of all convictions. The second most common offence type is crimes against the Narcotics Drugs Act, which was the principal offence in 26 percent of the convictions in 2019.

Fines most common sanction

Fines issued either by the courts or the prosecutor is the most common form of sanction. In 2019, 59 percent of all convictions carried fines as the principal sanction. In addition, 244,000 summary fines were issued directly by the police.

In 2019, about 10 percent (10,900) of all convictions carried a prison sentence. The most common sentence length was of a maximum of two months (43 percent of all convictions carrying a prison sentence) while the second most common sentence length was of over two months but no more than six months (21 percent of all convictions carrying a prison sentence). About 1,430 sentences or 13 percent of the prison sentence carried a prison term of over two years, 10 of which carried a life sentence. In 2019, 86 youths were sentenced to youth custody, a sanction that since 1999 has largely replaced the use of prison for youths up to eighteen years of age.

A legislative change introduced 1 January 2007 led to the sanctions youth care and youth service, previously included under care of the social services, now having become separate sanctions. There were about 2,920 youth care and youth service sentences in 2019.

In 2019, there were 9,470 convictions that carried a suspended sentence as the principal sanction, of which 33 percent (3,080 convictions) were combined with community service.

Men and women accounted for 84 and 16 percent respectively of those found guilty of offences in 2019. Youths aged between fifteen and twenty made up approximately 20 percent of all convicted in 2019. In relation to the proportion of the population, youths are over-represented among those found guilty of offences compared to members of other age groups.

Prison and Probation

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Over the course of the year 2019 a total of 9,170 individuals were admitted to prison, which is an increase of 3 percent in comparison with 2018.

The number of inmates in prison service institutions (on 1 October) was approximately 4,830 in 2019, which constitutes an increase of 10 percent in comparison with 2018. The level is now 10 percent lower than it was in 2010.

Of those admitted to prisons during the year 2019, 19 percent had been sentenced for theft offences. Around 12 percent had been sentenced for crimes against life and health, around 30 percent had been sentenced for drug offences and around 11 percent had been sentenced for road traffic offences. Assault offences dominated among the crimes against life and health and drinking under the influence dominated among the traffic offences.

The majority of those admitted to prisons are men. In 2019, men accounted for approximately 92 percent of the total number of prison inmates. The proportion of inmates comprised of women has been relatively stable over the last ten years.

Around 16 percent of those admitted to prison in 2019 were aged 50 or older. 45 percent were aged between 30 and 49, 33 percent were aged between 21 and 29. Youths aged between 15 and 20 accounted for 6 percent of admissions in 2019. Looking instead at those admitted to prison per 100,000 of population in the respective age groups, the distribution is different. On this basis, the dominant age group comprises persons aged 21 to 29 years, with 245 prison admissions per 100,000 of population, as compared with 77 admissions per 100,000 of population among those aged 15 to 20 years.

Approximately 1,610 individuals served their prison sentence by means of intensive electronic supervision in 2019, which constitutes a increase of 3 percent in comparison with 2018.

In 2019 approximately 9,910 persons entered the supervision of the probation service. This represents an increase of 2 percent by comparison with the figure for 2018. Approximately 6,230 persons (63 percent) were sentenced to probation and approximately 3,680 persons (37 percent) were conditionally discharged.

There were approximately 2,090 individuals placed in remand centres on 1 October 2019. Of these, 89 percent were under detention awaiting trial or during ongoing criminal investigations and 1 percent were under arrest or otherwise in police custody. The number of persons serving a prison sentence in remand centres was 109 persons on 1 October 2019.

Recidivism

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Thirty nine percent of all persons with an initial event¹ in 2013 relapsed into crime within three years. The percentage that relapsed among women was 29 percent and 42 percent among men. The statistics show minor changes over time.

The risk of relapsing into crime clearly increases with the number of previous adjudications².

Ninety two percent among those with nine or more previous adjudications relapsed into crime within three years. Among those without any previous adjudication 20 percent relapsed into crime within three years.

The percentage that relapses into crime varies between different age groups. Forty seven percent relapsed into crime within three years in the age group 18–20 years. Of those 60 years or older only 20 percent relapsed.

A regression analysis confirms most of the patterns shown in the tables. Men relapse more often than women, the risk of relapsing in to crime increases with the number of previous adjudication, and there is no difference over time. Men have a 53 percent greater risk to relapse into crime than women, people with 9 or more previous adjudication has almost twenty five times greater risk relapsing into crime than those with no previous adjudication.

The median number of days to the first relapse into crime was seven months and three weeks (240 days) 2013. The median number of days for women was 258 and 237 for men.

The risk of relapsing into crime is greatest right after the initial event. The pattern is the same regardless subgroup (gender, age, previous adjudication, sanction and crime).

A small group stands for many of the relapses. Only 10 percent of those who relapse have nine or more previous adjudications but they stand for 24 percent of all relapses. Together with those with 4–8 previous adjudications the stand for over half of all relapse crimes within 3 years.

It is common that a liberty depriving sanction in the initial event is followed by a liberty depriving sanction in the relapse event. Almost one in three (31 %) of those that relapses into a liberty depriving sanction had a liberty depriving sanction as most interfering sanction in the initial event. A total of 53 percent had been deprived of liberty some time prior to the relapse event when previous adjudications 5 years before the initial event are included.

About the statistics

Brå has published new recidivism statistics from 2012. The statistics have been improved through various measures in terms of reliability, quality and timeliness. The recidivism statistics aim, as before, to give an overview of the level, structure and development of relapses into crime. The statistics also present new measures such as time to first relapse.

The statistics is divided into to two products, one final and one preliminary recidivism statistics. The difference is the follow up time and the time for collection of conviction decisions that include relapses into crime. These time periods are three years each in the final statistics and one year each in the preliminary statistics. This gives the possibility to present more reliable final statistics compared to the preliminary statistics.

Due to the changes the levels in the new and old recidivism statistics are not directly comparable. It is however possible to compare distributions and development patterns.

¹) An initial event is a release from prison, discharge from closed institutional youth care, completed intensive supervision with electronic monitoring or court sentencing with legal force or conviction decisions with other sanctions.

²) Previous adjudications mean court sentencing with legal force or conviction decisions 5 years before the initial event.

A note on making international comparisons

Crime statistics are influenced by both legal and statistical factors, and by the extent to which crime is reported and registered. These factors can vary from one country to another. There are no international standards for how crime statistics should be produced and presented and this makes international comparisons difficult.

The legal factors that influence crime statistics include the way offences are defined in the relevant legislation, for example, as well as the rules and guiding principles that obtain for the work of the police and prosecutors.

The statistical factors that exert an influence include the principles that determine when a crime is recorded in the statistics. In some countries an event is only recorded in the crime statistics if, after investigation, it can legitimately be considered a crime or where there is sufficient evidence that a crime has been committed. Swedish statistics, on the other hand, record all reported events as crimes even if some of them are later found not to have constituted criminal offences.

Every country has its own principles about what is to be recorded as a criminal act. In some countries, if several offences are committed on the same occasion, only the most serious of these will be recorded. In Sweden, every offence committed on a single occasion is recorded in principle.

Methods of counting crime also vary from one country to another. Several offences of the same kind against a single victim will be counted in some countries as a single crime. By contrast, in Swedish crime statistics every offence occurring under these circumstances is counted separately.

The statistical classification of different types of incidents also varies. This is true of attempted offences, for example, which are in Sweden counted together with completed crimes. In a number of other countries, attempted offences are either recorded separately or ignored for statistical purposes.

Crime statistics are also influenced by public willingness to report crime, and by the efforts made by the police to deal with reported crime in the light of the way they prioritise different types of offences. This too may vary from country to country, making international comparisons more difficult.

The Swedish Crime Survey (a survey of self-reported victimization) constitutes a valuable indicator of  exposure to crime (for example in relation to the official crime statistics), as a means of describing perceptions of safety (or fear of crime) or confidence, and also as a national reference point for other surveys.

If you have any questions about Swedish crime statistics, please contact us at info@bra.se.