Two out of three charged with rape in Norway’s capital are immigrants with a non-western background according to a police study. The number of rape cases is also rising steadily.The study is the first where the crime statistics have been analyzed according to ethnic origin. Of the 111 charged with rape in Oslo last year, 72 were of non-western ethnic origin, 25 are classified as Norwegian or western and 14 are listed as unknown.
Rape charges in the capital are spiraling upwards, 40 percent higher from 1999 to 2000 and up 13 percent so far this year.
Nine out of ten cases do not make it to prosecution, most of them because police do not believe the evidence is sufficient to reach a conviction.
Police Inspector Gunnar Larsen of Oslo’s Vice, Robbery and Violent crime division says the statistics are surprising—the rising number of rape cases and the link to ethnic background are both clear trends. But Larsen does not want to speculate on the reasons behind the worrying developments.
While 65 percent of those charged with rape are classed as coming from a non-western background, this segment makes up only 14.3 percent of Oslo’s population. Norwegian women were the victims in 80 percent of the cases, with 20 percent being women of foreign background.
Larsen said that since this was the initial study examining ethnic make-up there were no existing figures to put the numbers into context.
“Meanwhile, it is our general experience that this is an increasing tendency. We note this by the number of time we need to use interpreters in the course of an investigation,” Larsen said.