According to Helsinki police, young people now use sharp weapons sensitively, but for very different reasons. The law does not prevent minors from buying steel weapons from a store, but the seller may refuse to sell them if he has doubts about the intended use.
April At the beginning, the Helsinki police were contacted about a few different shops. The merchants wanted to report that youth gangs had visited the shops and arrived at the checkouts with camping axes and knives.
Merchants had refused to sell them.
“They were awake in the situation,” says the crime inspector Jari Koski Helsinki police.
“Something worrying is going on here, because police found that blade guns are being found in young people more and more often.”
Young serious assaults and even killings suspected of being done with knife weapons have recently made headlines repeatedly. This week, the police have already reported two cases: the police have said that they suspect an 18-year-old man stabbed a 14-year-old in the back in Jätkäsaari, Helsinki. The same suspect possibly tried to stab another minor in the same situation, but this did not hurt.
In addition, a stab was reported on Tuesday in Malminkartano in March, where one young man was stabbed in the back with a carambit knife. It is, according to an online store that sells blade weapons, “a brutal combat knife with a curved blade that mimics the shape of a tiger’s claw”.
Much of the investigative material on the Vallila stabbing case in October, on the other hand, revealed that the suspect had bought a knife from Clas Ohlson in the center of Helsinki a moment earlier.
There would be enough cases to tell, as stabbing has taken place at an accelerating pace during the corona year: Little Huopalahti, In Myllypuro, Pasila, In the well park, In Tikkurila, At the railway market.
More than a week ago, it was reported that a 16-year-old boy had been arrested by police on suspicion of a fatal stabbing at Rautatientori. The victim was 24 years old.
“There are so many cases that they cannot be called individual cases. But at the same time, it is important to say that all these cases are quite different. There is no unifying motive, ”says Koski.
Immigrant background has recently been overemphasized in the background of the factors, but the connecting factors then end.
There is the collection of drug debts, robberies, “defending the honor of a guy”, drug abuse, or, for example, wanting to take another’s fine clothes. According to Kosken, cases are often based on things that sound insanely small from an adult’s point of view, such as tinkering with the messaging service on Snapchat.
Police often get “self-defense” as an explanation for possession of a blade.
Read more: A 17-year-old criminal conviction
The same is said by the crime commissioner leading the juvenile crime group in the Helsinki police Marko Forss.
“The threshold for using a blade gun has been alarmingly low for young people recently. In addition to the old acquaintances of the police, young people who do not have any previous criminal background have also joined, ”he says.
“I have been wondering if this is about the general nausea and inactivity of young people in Corona. That’s my best guess. There is rarely any clear motive for action, nor is there a red thread connecting the cases, ”he says.
Helsinki town’s informed on Monday that “the city and police have agreed to work more closely together, for example, to prevent gangs among young people”.
“There are now worrying signs in the air that need to be addressed,” says the Director of Culture and Leisure, responsible for youth work. Tommi Laitio.
“In particular, co-operation between the police, child protection and youth work needs to be intensified to ensure a common picture and rapid action. The number of severely symptomatic young people is not large, and it is now a matter of finding a way for these young people to take responsibility for their actions, a way out of criminal identity and individual solutions to help their situation. ”
According to Laition, school, hobbies, child protection and the police play an important role in the case of minors. In the case of adults, on the other hand, we need to talk about criminal liability.
“And in general, we should not only talk about young people, but also about criminally behaving adults around whom young people revolve.”
The police Koski and Forss are of the opinion that gangs are not behind the use of blade weapons. On the other hand, the concept of gang closure is very tricky because it can mean different things.
“When it comes to gangs that have their own territories, a certain style of dress and a clear hierarchy, we don’t have one in Finland yet,” says Koski.
However, the situation is being closely monitored.
“When talking about youth gangs, it is worth noting that young people have always committed crimes in a group. It really isn’t a new phenomenon, ”Forss says.
“It can be said that recently there have been small gang rallies where‘ gang ’members are united by, for example, the same orphanage background or ethnic background. But it is not about any phenomenon related to organized activities. ”
For example, in the latest Rautatientori stab, the whole situation had started to escalate, according to Koski, from “waving a bag”.
The end result was the death of a young man.
“Pulling out a knife can be a primitive reaction or a deliberate act, and it easily goes really bad. I think the important thing here is to understand that if a young person did not have that weapon, there would be no such bad impression. ”
From young people According to Koski, most steel weapons that are easy to obtain are seized: Link knives and Mora knives used on construction sites. However, there are also special features. For example, machetes, or large jungle knives, have been confiscated from young people from East Africa.
“The finer knives are also in shop windows, so getting them isn’t that easy. On the other hand, you can find everything on the Internet. ”
But what does Finnish law say about the sale and possession of firearms to minors?
The matter is regulated in the Public Order Act, according to which the possession of firearms in a public place is prohibited for all ages without an acceptable reason.
Common places include parks, beaches and shopping malls. Acceptable reasons, for example, are matters related to a job or certain hobbies.
In other words, the builder does not have to take the knife off the overalls when taking a break from the grocery store, and anyone going on a patrol trip or hunt is allowed to carry the necessary equipment with them.
“But if on a Friday night, by the way, the city is hanging out with a knife, it’s illegal,” says a Home Office police inspector Seppo Sivula.
However, the purchase or sale of steel weapons is not regulated by law. According to Sivula, this is partly due to the fact that blade weapons have many acceptable uses.
It is therefore not necessary to prove the age or determine the purpose of the weapon at the cash register of the store, unless the merchant so specifically requests.
“If the nature of the buyer seems to mean that the gun is not going to its normal purpose, you can of course decide to restrict sales,” Sivula says.
Another possession of a suitable object such as a blade in a public place may result in a fine or up to six months in prison.
According to Sivula, the police monitor the possession of blade weapons mainly in individual inspections. In the case of a minor, unauthorized weapons can be found, for example, in situations where the backpack is checked for alcohol.
“No police can go to rummage through anyone’s pockets. But if an unauthorized weapon is found during the inspection, it will be seized and destroyed. ”
According to him, in practice, possession of a blade is often not punished separately, but, for example, even minor offenses committed in the same context are included in a suspected drug offense or violent offense.
Despite on the proliferation of steel crimes Sivula does not see tightening legislation as a sensible solution to the problem.
Since tools that are eligible for a steel weapon are sold in almost every store and anyone can make one from almost any material, a ban on buying or selling them will do little to help him.
“A minor can march to a hardware store and buy a file and a piece of wood. How can you deny that? ” he ponders.
“And if one channel gets blocked, then we move elsewhere. Yes, a person will invent ways to harm another. ”
However, Sivula considers it a good idea to keep steel guns behind bars in shops and to control their sales on a case-by-case basis.
He hopes that official controls and sanctions will also help the disappearance of dangerous steel weapons from the streetscape.
“They’re easy to hide, and everyone knows how to use them. We have done more harm to the world with firearms than with firearms, for example. ”
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