Helsinki police are preparing to closely monitor minors and young people in the capital city over the weekend.
The operation seeks to show visible police presence near the places where youth spend time in Helsinki following four violent incidents that occurred in the past two weeks, all of which involved young or underage people and the use of an edge weapon, and one of them resulting in death.In the stabbing that took place at the railway station on 19 April, the victim died. All of these incidents have caused deep concern for safety among the public.
"We are very worried about this development of young people carrying edged weapons or other objects usable as weapons with them, and using them for quite insignificant reasons. Such a circle of people arming themselves must be broken. In the criminal investigation operations of the Helsinki Police Department, these cases are taken very seriously, and they are intervened in through effective means of police investigation", says Criminal Inspector Jari Koski from the Violent Crime Unit.
Police admit that the recent events and the broad public attention they have received "may understandably cause concern and fear among young people."
For that reason, the Helsinki Police Department will increase it visible surveillance during the weekend, and police officers will be present at locations where young people usually gather, together with other operators.
"The police will be present across the city in locations favoured by young people, together with other operators. It is important that safe adults are available to talk with the young. If any disturbances, threatening situations or crimes are observed, people should report them to the emergency response centre by calling 112. People should seek to get out of any threatening situations, if possible, and if there are any security personnel at the scene, the matter should also be reported to them", says Chief Inspector Katja Nissinen from the Preventive Policing Unit.
Knives prohibited in public spaces
The police emphasized in their statement that the possession of edged weapons in a public place without an acceptable reason is prohibited to people of all ages and it can cause fines or even prison sentences.
"Possession of an object suitable for harming another person in a public place is punishable by fines or a maximum of six months of imprisonment", Inspector Koski points out.
The Helsinki Police Department also emphasized that despite the recent incidents it is still safe to move around in the Finnish capital city.
Police advise young people to talk about their plans at home, and move around with friends they know well.
"Dark parks and public transport stations are not appropriate places to spend time in the evening and night. Even though there have recently been an exceptional number of drastic cases of violence, it should be kept in mind that very few young people are particularly violent. In general, crime among young people has decreased over the past few years", explains Inspector Nissinen.
The Helsinki Police Department's officers in the social media can be reached through Snapchat @stadinpoliisit.