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Crime in Iceland - Statistics & Facts

Iceland is considered by many as one of the safest countries in the world to live in, with very low crime and murder rates. For instance, the country has the lowest murder rate in Europe, and only one person was killed on the island in 2019. However, Iceland has a comparatively high rate of reported cases of sexual violence compared to other European countries, but this may also be a sign that Icelanders have a higher trust in their criminal justice system, and there is less social stigma attached to the victims of sexual or domestic abuse in Iceland. Moreover, the rate of reported violent assaults increased slightly over the past decade, but it is still low by European standards. In April 2021, a brutal murder linked to organized crime shocked the otherwise peaceful country; as of October this remains the only known homicide in 2021.

Police and prisoners

In 2019, there were 666 police officers in Iceland, which gives a ratio of 1.87 police officers per 1,000 people. Police officers in Iceland do not carry weapons; another indication of the general safety level in the country. There were 136 people in prison as of 2018, and 116 employees in adult prisons. Furthermore, a high share of the suspects are men, and a majority of the crime suspects have an Icelandic citizenship. Foreigners do make up a disproportionate share of offenders in relation to their population size, however this is more often attributed to the link between crime and low income, as non-Icelanders earn less on average. Additionally, some of the sentences are given because of violations of immigration law, which would rarely apply to Icelanders.

Non-violent crimes

Even though Iceland generally is a peaceful country, this does not mean that no crimes at all occur. By far, most of the crimes committed were traffic offenses, followed by penal violations. Most of the crimes were registered in the Capital region, which is also where most of the inhabitants in Iceland live. There was a ban on beer in Iceland until 1989, and there were 828 registered cases of alcohol related offenses in 2018. The legal drinking age is 20 years. In 2019, 3,476 thefts were committed in Iceland, and there were 2,240 drug offenses registered the previous year.

Interesting statistics

In the following 5 chapters, you will quickly find the 23 most important statistics relating to "Crime in Iceland".


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