For large parts of 2020, there has been national and local restrictions in the society. This has affected the crime picture. We see large periodic variations in the number of offences reported to the police. In the first two months of the year, slightly more offences were reported than in the same period last year. Compared to 2019, however, we see a significantly lower amount of offences reported to the police in the periods of shutdowns of society, especially for some types of offences, and especially in the weeks and months after mid-March. The volume of reported offences in the first half of the year is thus lower than the corresponding period in 2019. For some types of offences, the restrictions towards the end of the year have also led to a lower amount of offences reported to the police, but overall the number of offences reported in the second half of 2020 is on a par with the same period of 2019.

Biggest drop in thefts

The decline in the total number of reported offences in 2020 is mainly driven by the major decrease in property theft, according to the new figures from the statistics on Offences and victims reported to the police.

The nearly 87 000 property thefts in 2020 are just over 8 percent fewer than in 2019.

Figure 1. Offences reported to the police, by group of offence. Per 1 000 population

As shown in figure 1, there were also reported fewer incidents of other offences for profit and violence and maltreatment. The number of reported sexual offences was about level with the year before, while there was registered a lower amount of sexual offences in the first half of the year compared with the same period in 2019.

The number of reported drug and alcohol offences, public order and integrity violations and traffic offences are significantly affected by the police's control and patrol activities. The drop in drug and alcohol offences continued in 2020, and is largely due to fewer reported offences of use and minor possession of narcotic offences in the first half of 2020. There is also a decrease in public order and integrity violations. On the other hand, the number of traffic offences increases.

Almost 21 400 incidents of criminal damage were reported in 2020. This is as much as 21 per cent more than in the previous year, and the highest level since 2010, also taking into account the population growth. The high number is partly related to a large number of reported damages to property against certain public transport companies.

Fewer thefts in public places, especially from persons

There is a significant reduction in includes thefts, also aggravated, from the person at sales outlet, on public transport, in the street, park, and other recreation area, at sports facilities, cultural venue etc. and from the person at other public and private place. which drives the drop in thefts registered in 2020. This is related to less mobility and fewer persons in public spaces because of the covid-19 restrictions. The nearly 16 500 registered thefts from the person, including aggravated thefts, is a drop of as much as 38 percent from 2019. Theft from the person at sales outlet accounts for well over a third of the total decrease for this type of theft.

As illustrated in figure 2, there were reported close to 23 000 thefts from shops and other institution, a decrease of 13 per cent from 2019.

Figure 2. Thefts reported, by type of theft. Absolute figures

Fewer persons victims of theft outside their own municipality of residence, and abroad

As a result of travel restrictions, more persons have stayed in their own municipality of residence, and within the country's borders. We also see the consequences of this in the reports to the police.

A total of 45 000 persons were victims of property thefts in their own municipality of residence, which is slightly more than in 2019. Among these, we find many of the victims of the 20 700 reported bicycle thefts, which is 30 per cent more than the year before.

However, the 15 200 persons who were exposed to theft in municipalities other than their own municipality of residence are close to 33 per cent fewer than in 2019.

The number of reported offences committed abroad has also been significantly reduced, from close to 8 900 in 2019 to about 3 200 in 2020, a reduction of 64 per cent. The decline is particularly large for property thefts and thus contributes greatly to the total decline we see for this group of offences.

Fewer victims of offences of violence, especially young adults

For certain types of violence and maltreatment and public order and integrity violations, the amount of offences reported to the police drops significantly in the months with the most severe restrictions. This applies, for example, to assaults and breach of the peace under self-induced intoxication, which is related with closed bars, clubs etc.

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., just over 16 100 persons reported to be victims of offences of violence in 2020. This is nearly 10 per cent fewer than in the previous year, and this applies in particular to victims of assault, as illustrated in figure 3. If we look at the victims of violence, there is a decrease for both men and female, but most for men. There are fewer victims in most age groups, and especially among young adults aged 20-29. The nearly 3 600 victims in this age group are as much as 20 percent fewer than in 2019.

There are also fewer victims of the somewhat more serious types of violence. For example, the total of 1 900 victims of bodily harm and aggravated assault is 18 per cent fewer than in 2019. The number of victims of maltreatment in close relations in 2020 is lower in the first half of the year, compared with the same period in the previous year, but overall the number of victims is on a par with 2019.

Figure 3. Victims (persons) of violence and maltreatment, by sex and selected offences. Absolute figures

¹ The figures for male 2020 and for female 2020 for "Other types of violence and maltreatment" og for "Threats, total" was corrected, 15 August 2022.

In 2020, 811 offences of the type Other or unspecified penal legislation were registered, up from 290 in the previous year. This type of offense includes a number of special laws, including the Act relating to control of communicable diseases and other new special laws and regulations related to the covid-19 pandemic. Statistics Norway cannot quantify the extent of offences specifically related to covid-19. However, it can be expected that the considerable increase in the offence type Other or unspecified penal legislation is related to an increase in the Act relating to control of communicable diseases and other new special laws and regulations.

With the regional and municipal reform, Norway went on 1 January 2020 from 18 to 11 counties, and from 422 to 356 municipalities. This poses challenges for the use of a large number of Statistics Norway's statistics. In Statistics Norway's statistics bank tables with county distribution, you can choose to include figures for only new, only old or both old and new counties. The counties with the same name will have time series that extend before and after 2020, although these time series may also contain breaks due to changes in the boundaries between the counties. The same applies to the tables with distributions by police district, where from 1.1.2020 there are some border adjustments between Troms, Nordland, Trøndelag, Møre og Romsdal and Vest - and a more significant expansion in Oslo and reduction in the Sør-Øst police district. See code lists in Klass for an overview of the changes in the correspondences between municipalities, counties and police districts.