Safety in the U.S. vs. Finland

Safety in the U.S. vs. Finland

Hannah Pappila

Most Americans can agree that the U.S. isn’t a safe place. The crime rates are very high and mass shootings are out of hand. The U.S. has a crime rate of 55.84 which is two times more than Finland compared to the population. The total amount of crimes in the U.S. is 23 times the amount in Finland. In only 2020, the U.S. had 614 mass shootings which resulted in over 400 deaths. Finland, in total, has had six massacres/mass shootings in the past 20 years. One of the three school shootings that has happened in Finland, actually happened in my Finnish high school in 2007. Finland’s gun laws are very strict, unlike in the U.S. so there has almost been no gun violence in Finland.

To own a gun in Finland, you have to go through a very lengthy process that you have to apply to the police and you have to have a very good reason. You cannot, under any circumstances, carry a gun in public. You are not allowed to own assault weapons, automatic firearms or certain types of bullets. 

However, everything in Finland is not safe. For women, Finland is named to be the second most dangerous country in the EU. Finland has three times more rape victims than the U.S. and assault and domestic violence are very high. 

Still, Finnish women feel more safe than American women. 

Alcoholism is a problem for the older generation in Finland, especially concerning men. Seasonal depression is also a big issue in Finland and suicide rates incline a lot during the winter season. Women are very equal in Finland and women are generally respected and treated equally, but there is still a lot of misogyny, especially in rural areas. Our previous president was a woman and our current prime minister is a woman, so Finland is still definitely more equal than the U.S.. 

The justice system in Finland is very different compared to the U.S. and prisoners are treated very differently. The U.S. has over two million prisoners compared to Finland, which has only about 3,000. 

The number difference between the inmates in Finland vs. The U.S. is of course partially reflective of a much lower population, but still even if Finland had the same population as the United States, Finland would only have about 150,000 prisoners. 

Life in prison in Finland is 12 years and in the U.S. it is a minimum of 15 years. Finnish prisoners are in better conditions and prisons are highly focused on education and preventing future crimes from the same inmates as well as rehabilitation. 

Finnish people, in general, are more law abiding citizens than in the U.S.. This might have something to do with our culture and the fact that we are always searching for the greater good rather than wanting individual freedom when it comes to safety. 

Scources: en/7120601