Staunton, July 22 – A special investigation by the “To Be Exact” project of the Help Needed Foundation finds that if one examines the real level of crime partially by indirect means as opposed to accepting official figures, the federal subjects in the Russian Far East had far and away the highest crime rates in Russia, with Tyva far and away the worst even of these.
The lowest, using this methodology, Kseniya Babikhina, one of the project’s analysts, says, are to be found in central Russia including the oblasts of Belgorod, Ryazan, Tula and Moscow (novayagazeta.ru/articles/2021/07/22/v-god-mozhet-sovershatsia-v-10-raz-bolshe-prestuplenii-chem-pokazyvaet-statistika).
The researcher says that it is difficult to rate regions on crime using official data alone because different regions have different rates of being willing to take cases from the population – the police like cases they can solve – and because the pandemic changed the nature of crime, reducing street crime but increasing Internet fraud.
She said that using figures based on death rates and incarcerations rather than official crime statistics, one finds that Tyva is the worst by a large amount, with more than 200 of its residents out of every 100,000 population committing crimes compared to an all-Russia average of 40 per 100,000. Moreover, far more of its young people are involved in criminal activity.
The reason for this, Babikhina says, is poverty. Tyva is the poorest federal subject in the country; and people turn to crime not because of moral failings but out of desperation. They engage in actions that are easier to track even if the republic officials seek to minimize them. Violent crime, for instance, is always more likely to be registered than other kinds.
On the basis of her organization’s investigation, she concludes, the European University in St. Petersburg is correct in saying that some 12 million crimes are being committed in Russia each year, six times the number that officials report, with many of the latter being online crimes people are ashamed to report or police are unwilling to take up.