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Finland 2017 Crime & Safety Report

Europe > Finland; Europe > Finland > Helsinki

Overall Crime and Safety Situation

U.S. Embassy Helsinki does not assume responsibility for the professional ability or integrity of the persons or firms appearing in this report. The ACS Unit cannot recommend a particular individual or location and assumes no responsibility for the quality of service provided.

THE U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE HAS ASSESSED HELSINKI AS BEING A LOW-THREAT LOCATION FOR CRIME DIRECTED AT OR AFFECTING OFFICIAL U.S. GOVERNMENT INTERESTS.

Please review OSAC’s Finland-specific webpage for proprietary analytic reports, Consular Messages, and contact information.

Crime Threats

Finland is one of the safest countries in the world and has one of the world’s most effective police forces. However, petty crimes (pickpocketing) do occur in crowded areas and during the summer tourist season.

Crimes against women and minorities continue to be of concern to authorities. Finland experienced a 19% increase in sex crimes during the first half of 2015. Press coverage of hate crimes has increased, although no statistics are available from the police statistical center.

At least eight different motorcycle gangs are active in Finland, although overall membership levels remain low. Russian organized crime is also a topic of concern for authorities.

Cybersecurity Issues

Finland experienced a 17% increase in fraud-related crimes during the first half of 2015, many of which involved the Internet. In addition, authorities continue to express concern over the threat posed by economic espionage, much of which is facilitated by cyberattacks.

Transportation-Safety Situation

Road Safety and Road Conditions

The Finnish road network is safe, comprehensive, and well-maintained, despite severe winters. Winter tires (studded or M/S) are mandatory December-March. DUI laws are extremely strict; 0.05% BAC is considered DUI.

Public Transportation Conditions

Finnish public transport is safe, comprehensive, and well-maintained.

Aviation/Airport Conditions

Finnish aviation remains one of the safest aviation systems in the world.

Terrorism Threat

THE U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE HAS ASSESSED HELSINKI AS BEING A LOW-THREAT LOCATION FOR TERRORIST ACTIVITY DIRECTED AT OR AFFECTING OFFICIAL U.S. GOVERNMENT INTERESTS.

Local, Regional, and International Terrorism Threats/Concerns

Finland has never experienced a terrorist attack, although terrorism remains a topic of concern due to the Syrian migrant crisis. Finland has temporarily accepted around 32,000 migrants, the majority of whom are men of fighting age. Finland anticipates deporting a significant number of migrants in 2017. Approximately 100 Finns are suspected of having traveled to fight in foreign conflicts. In addition, approximately 300 Finns are under police surveillance for suspected ties to terrorism.

Anti-American/Anti-Western Sentiment

Anti-American sentiment remains very low. Certain small segments of the population, such as Russians and Middle Easterners, tend to hold marginally less favorable views of Americans.

Political, Economic, Religious, and Ethnic Violence

THE U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE HAS ASSESSED HELSINKI AS BEING A LOW-THREAT LOCATION FOR POLITICAL VIOLENCE DIRECTED AT OR AFFECTING OFFICIAL U.S. GOVERNMENT INTERESTS.

Civil Unrest

Tensions between far-left and far-right groups have increased against the backdrop of the Syrian migrant crisis and Finland’s upcoming centennial celebration in December 2017. Finland experienced its first (and only) protest-related death in 2016, when a far-right protestor attacked a heckler who later died of his injuries. However, police were quick to intervene, and the attacker was prosecuted and convicted.

Religious/Ethnic Violence

Some far-right groups incite violence against minorities, although authorities maintain effective control of the situation via hate-speech legislation and strong social disapproval of far-right views.

Post-specific Concerns

Critical Infrastructure

Finnish critical infrastructure is well maintained and well protected. Finland maintains a comprehensive and sophisticated civil defense system.

Economic Concerns

Finland has a transparent and well-regulated economy. Grey and black-market activities are relatively rare, although authorities deal with illicit economic activities connected to Russian organized crime.

Privacy Concerns

Finnish and EU privacy laws are strict, although a great deal of personal information is still available via government sources, including address, telephone, and vehicle information.

Personal Identity Concerns

Finland is a traditionally egalitarian country with high levels of social acceptance. Over the past two decades, the greater Helsinki area has become an increasingly cosmopolitan and multicultural environment. However, some far-right groups still espouse racist ideologies.

Drug-related Crimes

Finland’s already low level of drug-related crime has been decreasing consistently since 2014.

Kidnapping Threat

The last reported incident of kidnapping-for-ransom in Finland occurred in 2009; it was viewed as an isolated incident.

Police Response

The police are one of the most professional police forces in the world. All Finnish police speak English. Due to the high effectiveness level of individual officers, Finland maintains the lowest police-per-capita ratio in the industrialized world.

Finnish law allows the police to demand identification on the spot.

How to Handle Incidents of Police Detention or Harassment

Police corruption is extremely rare, although Finland experienced its first major police corruption conviction in 2016. Police impersonation is virtually nonexistent.

U.S. officials should cooperate fully with police and request consular assistance as appropriate. U.S. citizens in distress should call the main Embassy number at +358-9-616-250 and select 0.

Crime Victim Assistance

Finland’s all-purpose emergency number is 112. Comprehensive victim-assistance resources are available via police and social services agencies.

Police/Security Agencies

Finland has 10 regional police forces and 1 metropolitan police force (Helsinki) under the command of the National Police Board. The National Bureau of Investigation serves as Finland’s sole investigative agency for major crimes and organized crime. In addition, the Security Intelligence Service is staffed by police officers and serves as Finland’s sole civilian intelligence and national security agency. Aside from the police, the Customs Service and the Border Guard are the only government agencies with law-enforcement powers.

Medical Emergencies

The medical system is one of the best in the world. A combination of public and private providers offers comprehensive, state-of-the-art treatment in all areas of medicine.

Contact Information for Available Medical Services

Terveystalo Kamppi is a 24/7 private hospital with an emergency room in the center of Helsinki (Jaakonkatu 3, ph. 030-6000).

The Helsinki University Hospital System’s Meilahti and Töölö campuses offer 24/7 emergency care just north of the city center (Haartmaninkatu 4 and Topeliuksenkatu 5, ph. 09-4711).

Available Air Ambulance Services

Finland has a well-developed air ambulance system for acute trauma cases and inter-hospital transfers throughout the country. Private, international air ambulance services are available through Jet Flight (ph. 020-510-1911).

Insurance Guidance

For anyone who does not pay Finnish income tax, the public and private medical systems alike require payment at the time of service. Traveler’s insurance is advisable.

Country-specific Vaccination and Health Guidance

The CDC offers additional information on vaccines and health guidance for Finland.

OSAC Country Council Information

The Helsinki Country Council currently meets twice a year and has approximately 25 members. Please contact OSAC’s Europe team with any questions or to join.  

U.S. Embassy Location and Contact Information

Embassy Address and Hours of Operation

Itäinen Puistotie 14
00104 Helsinki
Hours of Operation: Mon-Fri, 0830- 1700. Some sections of the Embassy may have different hours. All offices are closed on Saturday, Sunday, and on American and Finnish holidays

Embassy Contact Numbers

Switchboard: 09-6162-50 (from outside Finland +359-9-6162-50)
For after-hours emergencies, follow the prompts to reach the Consular Duty Officer or Marine Post One.
Website: http://finland.usembassy.gov 

Embassy Guidance

U.S. citizens traveling in Finland are encouraged to register in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP). STEP is a free service that helps the U.S. Embassy disseminate information about safety conditions and contact travelers in an emergency.

Additional Resources

Finland Country Information Sheet