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Finland outnumbers several other EU states in violent deaths
Finland, the Baltic states, and Eastern Europe have the highest numbers
As regards the number of deaths caused by accidents and violence, Finland is among the top countries in Europe - albeit not in the sense we would wish: Finland’s number of deaths caused by these reasons is the fourth highest in Europe.
These facts are indicated by a new report recently launched by EuroSafe. The report presents data collected in the 27 EU states over the period from 2005 to 2007, but in Finland the situation has not changed much since then.
In 2008, accidents were the third most common cause of death, killing more than 3,000 working age people.
The most common cause of death for men was tumbling down, falling off structures, alcohol poisoning, or traffic accidents, while women most often died as a result of tumbling down or falling.
In this EU comparison Finland does not appear to belong to Western Europe, but to the EU countries of Eastern Europe.
The Baltic states top the statistics, with Lithuania being number one. Latvia comes in second, while Estonia is the third.
Finland is followed by Hungary, Slovenia, Poland, and Romania. Another Nordic country, Sweden, holds position 17, with Denmark right behind.
Sweden represents the average level in the comparison. The Netherlands, Malta, and Britain can be found at the other end.
In Holland some 3.9% of deaths are a consquence of a fatal injury, in Sweden the figure is 5.2%, and in Finland as high as 8.9%.
If all EU countries were at the same level as the Netherlands, more than 100,000 lives would be saved in Europe every year, Eurosafe calculates. Instead, at present one person dies every second minute as a result of violence or accidents.
Moreover, a large sum of money could be saved for other purposes. A total of EUR 15 billion is used to treat the consequences of accidents and violence every year.
For the time being, it is not possible to foresee any reduction in these figures, even though the number of road traffic injuries and occupational accidents is declining. At the same time, home and leisure accidents are becoming more common, constituting the majority of all accidents.
However, while Finnish criminal history contains a large number of violent deaths, including manslaughters, the number of premeditated murders as such is not particularly high. Most killings are the product of drunken brawls or are "domestics", where alcohol also plays a significant role.
In this respect, a case of a nurse suspected of several poisoning murders of people under her care in Helsinki is rather exceptional from the Finnish perspective.
To some extent, these murders were a consequence of the fact that supervisory officials had not been informed of the woman’s earlier suspended prison sentence for stealing a large quantity of medicines from the Meilahti Hospital in Helsinki.
In recent years, a couple of similar cases of nurses suspected of murders have also occurred in other parts of Finland.
Naturally, in the context of the tragic shootings at the Sello shopping mall reported earlier today, this article comes into even sharper focus.