House-breakers thrive in wealthy Norway

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File photo: Sara Johannessen/Scanpix
12:06 CEST+02:00
The number of burglaries in Norway rose by eight percent in the first six months of 2012 compared to the same period last year, new figures show.

With 15,358 break-ins up to the end of June, the fall-off recorded last year appears to have been short-lived, according to statistics from Finance Norway (Finansnæringens Fellesorganisasjon – FNO), a trade organization for banks and insurance firms.

Insurance companies have paid out a total of 254 million kroner ($43 million) in compensation for burglaries carried out in the first half of the year.

“Thieves travel around a lot and spend time on surveillance before they strike,” said Leif Osland, communications director for FNO.

“A lot of the thieves are fast and effective both when they break into and leave a property. More valuables are being stolen than before.”

Norway has more home alarms per head of population than any other country in the world, while people have also invested heavily in better locks.

But burglars for their part have also become more professional, said Leif Osland, who attributed much of the recent rise to criminals entering the country from abroad.

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“The level of activity of foreign gangs in Norway comes in waves. Norwegians have more and more valuables in their homes.

“Norway’s high standard of living is tempting for organized criminals from Eastern Europe. There are major challenges linked to organized crime from Eastern Europe,” said Osland.

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