Compared to 2020, nearly 22 000 fewer offences are reported to the police, as shown in the statistics on Offences and victims reported to the police. This is the largest reduction we have seen in the number of reported offences from one year to another since the beginning of this statistics in 1993.

Several of the same tendencies related to pandemic-measures for reported offences in 2020 also apply in 2021, but without such major changes from month to month. These tendencies include:

  • Fewer reported offences committed abroad
  • Larger proportion of victims exposed to crime in their own municipality of residence
  • Fewer thefts from persons
  • Less smuggling
  • Certain types of violence and breach of the peace decreases during the shutdown

The type of offence «other or unspecified penal legislation» has also more than tripled from the year before, going from 800 to 2 800 in 2021. This type of offence includes several special laws, including the Infection Control Act and the covid-19 regulation. Nearly half of the increase occurs in East police district, which is responsible for Gardermoen Airport and the largest border crossings from Sweden.

Biggest drop in drug offences

While the decline in the total number of reported offences since the early 2000s has been driven by a sharp reduction in property thefts, the decline in 2021 is mainly driven by the major decrease in drug offences. As shown in figure 1, this reinforces the overall decline in reported offences in 2021.

Figure 1. Offences reported to the police, by group of offence.

Those 30 200 reported offences are as much as 24 per cent fewer than in 2020, mainly related to a very low number of reported drug offences. The other types of drug offences are also somewhat reduced from the previous year, but on the same level as 2019.

Historical drop in drug offences

The number of reported drug offences in 2021 are characterized by an abrupt decline in April, after The Director of Public Prosecutions sent out guidelines for the police’s use of coercive measures, especially related to the use and possession of small quantities of drugs. In the first three months of the year on average 1 000 violations of drug provisions in the Norwegian Medicines Act are reported. The average is almost halved, to just over 500 such offences per month the rest of the year.

As shown in figure 2, the decline in reported drug offences continues since the last peak in 2013. Overall, the number of drug offences has decreased by almost two thirds during this eight-year period, from 47 300 reported offences in 2013 to 17 500 in 2021.

Figure 2. Offences reported to the police, by type of narcotic offence. 1999-2021.

Those 3 800 reported offences for drug use in 2021 is nearly 75 per cent fewer than in 2013, and the lowest number in the history of statistics back to 1993.

Decline in thefts, but more reported offences online

Property thefts is reduced by 9 per cent from the year before, which is mainly related to nearly 3 000 fewer reported bicycle thefts. There is also a decline for most other types of thefts, except the somewhat least serious, which are on the same level as the year before.

More and more thefts are being reported digitally to the police, and in 2021 more than nine out of ten bicycle thefts are reported online. The possibility of reporting offences digitally has expanded for several types of thefts during the pandemic, and in 2021, a total of two out of ten offences are reported online.

Less reported offences of serious violence and maltreatment in close relations

During 2021 nearly 36 000 cases of violence and maltreatment are reported, which is 3 per cent fewer than the year before. The decline is particularly large in the first half of the year, for both violence and threats. While the extent of threats is further reduced in the second half of the year, an average of 4 per cent more violent offences are reported compared with the second half of 2020.

Reported offences of the somewhat less serious types of violence are on the same level as the year before, but there are fewer of the more serious violent offences of bodily harm, including aggravated, which is reduced by nearly 12 per cent.

As in the previous three years, it is a decrease in the number of reported cases of maltreatment in close relations in 2021. Those 3 100 cases are 6 per cent fewer than the year before, and on average 8 per cent fewer than the previous three years.

More victims of sexual offences, but fewer under the age of five

From the If a person is registered as a victim of more than one offence during the statistical year, the victim will be grouped by principal offence —which is the offence that according to the law will give the most severe sentence., nearly 5 800 persons reported to be victims of sexual offences in 2021. This is 570 more than the year before, and the largest annual increase we have seen the last five-year period. The increase is greatest for offences such as sexual act, sexually abusive behaviour and rape. Overall, women make up 85 per cent of all victims of sexual offences in 2021, a proportion that has remained relatively stable over time.

[Principal offence: If a person is registered as a victim of more than one offence during the statistical year, the victim will be grouped by principal offence —which is the offence that according to the law will give the most severe sentence.]

Of all persons registered as victims of a sexual offence in 2021, most are 10-14 and 15-19 years old, as shown in figure 3. While the level is relatively stable for the age group 30 years and over, there have been far more registered victims of sexual offences among children and young people in the age group 10-19 years old in the last five or six years.

Figure 3. Victims (persons) of sexual offence, by selected age groups.

There has been an increase in the number of the youngest victims in the entire period up to, and including, 2017, but in the last four years the number has decreased. The total of 240 victims aged 0-4 years in 2021, is as much as 43 per cent fewer in 2017.