Asylum seekers ‘over-represented’ in Norway crime stats

Asylum seekers and visa-less immigrants in Norway are charged with twice as many crimes per head of population as Norwegians, but still account for a very small proportion of overall criminality, a new report has said.

The number of asylum seekers and people living in Norway illegally charged for criminal acts, was twice as high per capita as among the rest of the Norwegian population, according to a new report from the Norwegian Directorate of Immigration (UDI).

But Dag Ellingsen and Sigmund Book, producers of the report, maintained that immigrants were not responsible for a crime wave in Norway and that the figures needed to be seen proportionately. They told Aftenposten “This is so little that it has minimal significance to the big picture of crime in Norway.”

They also pointed out that there men and young people are overrepresented among asylum seekers:

"If we compare with people of the same age and sex, most of the over-representation disappears," the researchers said.

The report, conducted by Oxford Research on the UDI's behalf, shows that 1 in 50 cases of crime committed in 2010 involved an asylum seeker or person living in Norway without papers.

In total these groups accounted for 2.5 percent of all crime charges in Norway in 2010. Researchers estimated there were 18,000 asylum seekers or people without papers in Norway in 2010, out of a total population of just under 5 million, or about 0.4 percent of the population.

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