In Iceland you can leave your babies unattended Outside
by FFE EU News Staff
Yesterday, news about a police shooting in Iceland spread like wildfire online. But it was not for the usual reasons. The cop shooting was the first time police have killed someone in the country.
Violent crime in the country is a rare occurrence. According to a 2011 study by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), the homicide rate in Iceland between 1999 and 2009 never exceeded 1.8 per 100,000 people. One BBC reporter observed that safety is relaxed and kids are normally left unattended outside.
What is most surprising about this information is that there are around 90,000 owned guns in this country of around 300,000 people. Iceland ranks 15th in the world in terms of guns owned per capita.
So what makes Iceland different from countries with higher homicide rates? Here are two of the arguments:
1. Economic classes are virtually non-existent. It is said that there is no distinction among upper, middle and lower class families in the country. In a study by a University of Missouri masters student, 1.1% of participants said they identify as upper class, 1.5% as lower class while the rest identified as upper-middle, lower-middle or working class.
Social Democratic Alliance former chair Bjorgvin Sigurdsson said that equality was the biggest factor that influences the country’s low violent crime rate.
2. Fewer hard drugs. According to a 2012 UNODC report, use of drugs among 15–64 year olds is 0.9% for cocaine, 0.5% for ecstasy and 0.7% for amphetamines. The Icelandic parliament (Althingi) also established a drug police and drug court to curb its use as early as 1973. Ninety percent of the cases during the first 10 years of the court were also settled with a fine.
The Iceland government is also pre-empting crimes before they happen. At the moment, police are targeting organised crime while the Althingi are in the process of creating laws that would put a stop on these networks.