No. 8




In Search of a New Policy on Crime

18 December 2003


RiTo No. 8, 2003

  • Ando Leps

    Member of the 8th and 9th Riigikogu, Ph.D. in jurisprudence

Crime is undoubtedly a phenomenon for which there is no good explanatory theory, even today.

It is a gap that even Juura Õigusteabe AS’s volume “Kuritegevus Eestis 1991-2001” (Crime in Estonia), edited by Jüri Saar with a preface by former minister of justice Märt Rask, cannot manage to fill. Instead of new criminal policy conclusions reached through analysis, readers are only offered a statistical overview of crimes and perpetrators. Crime as a distinct social process is not discussed at all, despite the editor’s stated intention to at least provide a definition for crime.

As to obedience and crime as its antithesis, contemporary criminology theory considers a person’s ability, acquired through socialization, to be a member of society and to understand and in his actual behavior follow societal norms, including the law. Thus instead of mere statistical description of crime and the crime data set, the dependence of crime on other social processes should be described, even if in mere statistical connection; to identify in which specific ways society’s own characteristics are reflected in crime; and likewise how crime itself effects the workings of a society. The respective analysis on the basis of the data characterizing the Estonian social situation and events could provide a reliable and rigorous foundation not only for a new policy on crime, but also for planning societal development in a wider sense.

Yet it would be unfair to say that the authors’ efforts are completely misspent. As a reference book characterizing crime by the use of statistics, the work offers much interesting and handy information to people in many fields.

Full article in Estonian