Staunton, August 5 – Russian officials frequently report on crimes registered with the authorities or crimes the judicial system has solved, but these figures have little to do with the actual shape of crime in the Russian Federation, Yury Krupnov says. And as a result, neither the police nor the people know what the real situation is or how to direct their efforts.
The senior expert at the Moscow Institute of Demography, Migration and Regional Development says that in fact the interior ministry and the police are well aware of the fact that they don’t have accurate information on crime and that they even know why they don’t have it (svpressa.ru/society/article/306327/).
On the one hand, the police want to show they are doing a good job and so underreporting crime allows them to suggest that they are, even when their actions are having no such impact. And on the other, they are constrained by the attitudes of those in power as to what is politically correct and what issues the population can actually talk about.
Thus, over recent years, the interior ministry has stopped publishing data on the ethnic composition of criminals because those in power have decided that such information is politically incorrect and may cause problems, and the Kremlin does not want there to be talk about issues like poverty that are the underlying causes of crime.
As a result, the Russian police do not know where to focus their efforts; and Russia will face rising crime as long as the economic or demographic situations that generate criminal behavior are not discussed and adequately addressed, Krupnov continues. There simply won’t be adequate enforcement or serious efforts to prevent criminal activity.
Moreover, he says, the absence of serious and reliable statistics means that the police almost ignore three groups where crime by anecdotal reports is on the rise, among women, among students, and among young people generally. The police don’t maintain numbers on these and so aren’t under pressure to direct resources to rein in crimes by members of these groups.