Last update 23/02/2006
Population (as of 1 January 2005): 1.346.500

1. Crime statistics

Recorded criminal offences (2005) 52 916 [2004: 53048]


crimes against property: 36207
traffic criminal offences: 3726
crimes against person: 4274
drug offences: 1152
crimes against public trust: 1561
Offenders total: 16310
Minors percentage (< 18) : 10,6%
Women percentage : 11,4%
Foreigners percentage : 7,1%
Prison population (as of 31st of December 2005): 4.413
Prison capacity (as of 31st of December 2005): 4.441
Age of criminal responsibility: 14 (since 01.09.2002)
National victimization survey: Yes (

2. Safety and crime prevention (general)

Police forces (as of 1st January 2006): 4.575
Judicial system workforce (as of 31st of December 2005): 222 judges
Private security forces (as of 31st of January 2006): 190 working licenses given to private security companies
Relevant NGO’s operating in the field of crime prevention:
Eesti Lastekaitse Liit (Estonian Union for Child Welfare), Eesti Naabrivalve (Estonian Neighbourhood Watch), Baltic Crime Prevention Practitioners Association NGO Ohvriabi (NGO Victim Support), Convictus Eesti, Tallinna Laste Tugikeskus (Tallinn Children Support Centre), Tartu Laste Tugikeskus (Tartu Child Support Center), Eesti Sotsiaalprogrammide Keskus, Kuriteoennetuse Sihtasutus, Eesti Lastefond (Estonian Children’s Fund),

3. Competence of State, regional and local authorities

National Crime Prevention Council : Yes (since 1993),

National actions plans:

Criminal Policy Development Trends until 2010

National HIV/AIDS Strategy for 2006-2015$file/HIV%20ja%20AIDSi%20strateegia%2001.12.2005..docThe

Developmental Plan Fighting against Human Trafficking for 2006-200

Nation Drug Prevention Strategy until 2012$file/strateegia.doc

Anti-Corruption Strategy `An Honest State`

There is in preparation the developmental plan for the reduction of juvenile delinquency.

Regional level of competence:
There are 15 counties in Estonia. In county level crime prevention work are done mainly through juvenile committees (coordinated in state level by Ministry of Education and Research) and drug prevention committees (coordinated in state level by the Ministry of Social Affaires).

All counties have the possibility to establish different committees dealing with crime prevention issues, incl. representatives from the county government, police, local authorities, NGOs etc, but establishing such committed is not widely spread habit. Regular information exchange is taking place between the local authorities of various cities/municipalities of the same county, and the local police prefecture (which covers the whole county).

Local authorities:
According to the legislation, local authorities are not directly responsible for crime prevention. In practice, they play an active role in developing crime prevention activities in the local authorities’ territory (e.g. neighbourhood watch, activities for juvenile to keep them away of criminal acts and also rehabilitation work for victims and ex prisoners, etc). Local crime prevention councils (commissions) are usually formed by local governments and usually, local prevention work is financed from the budget of the local government and also from project support allocations.

For example state provides crime prevention finances through various programmes and project support allocations (e.g. through the police system, juvenile committee system and the Ministry of Justice).
There is in preparation one legislative act, which will hopefully clear up the responsibilities of different key players in crime prevention on all levels- state, regional, local authorities.

Role of elected officials (city mayors):
In bigger cities they have been active establishing crime prevention councils (for example Tallinn, Rakvere) and in supporting some crime prevention activities mostly done by the NGO-s. (e.g. the installation of video surveillance in streets, projects targeting juvenile delinquency, preventing school truancy and drug/alcohol consumption, also of drug-addiction).

Role of the NGO-s:
The activities of non-profit associations (NGO-s) in terms of preventive work have activated over the recent years. There are more and more organisations that see ensuring security as one of their activities. The non-profit sector is the most active in terms of attending to youth, incl. ordinary and problematic young people. At the same time several non-profit associations have aimed their activities at punished persons, persons on probation and persons who have been released from prison in order to help them integrate into society. The non-profit sector supports the state and local authorities primarily as a service provider, both in terms of crime prevention and various other fields, because several services, which the state or local authority can purchase from the non-profit sector, cannot be provided through there own system.

Role of the individuals:
Individuals are the most active participants in crime prevention through the Neighbourhood Watch movement and through creation of the neighbourhood watch sectors and patrol units in the neighbourhood. At the same time there are people who are not organised for the purpose of increasing security, but who help fellow citizens in specific criminal episodes either by catching robbers, thieves or helping victims or actively notifying the police about committed crimes. These people individually show civil courage. As of 2004 civil courage awards are given as recognition to these brave and courageous citizens.

4. Main Debates

  • – juvenile delinquency;
  • – reduction of the prison population and wider use of alternative punishment;
  • – drug and alchohol treatment programs;
  • – rehabilitation programs for ex- convicts;
  • – drug addiction and related crimes as well as spreading of HIV;
  • – trafficking, incl, trafficking in women;
  • – corruption, notably on the local level;
  • – problems related to drunken driving, etc.

Violent Street Crime in Estonia 2001-2005

Click here  for a Power Point presentation on Violent Street Crime in Estonia: national measures and local solutions 2001-2005 

Pickpockets in Tallinn

Click here for an article about pickpockets in Tallinn written by Märt  Kõrgmaa and the activities of the Tallinn police against pickpocketing.

Crime Prevention Policy in Estonia 1995-2005

To download the document on Crime Prevention Policy in Estonia please click here. Please note that this document is not an official position of the Estonian government. It is the personal opinion of a Canadian, Mr. James Hillborn, who is a permanent … More