At the end of the year, news agency NTB's overview showed that police investigated 20 murder cases with 21 victims in 2015. In addition, there were nine deaths in which one or more person were charged with deadly violence and it is not uncommon for police to upgrade the indictment during their investigation.
According to National Criminal Investigation Service (Kripos), which has kept the statistics since 1990, the number of annual murders has varied between 20 and 50 during that period. Thus, 2015 ended as one of the years with the fewest murders in the last quarter century.
According to Ragnhild Bjørnebekk, a researcher at the Norwegian Police University College (Politihøgskolen), there can be several reasons behind the lower murder numbers.
“It has to do with developments in medical knowledge and that hospitals have become very good at treating knife wounds,” she told NTB.
Additionally, transporting victims by helicopter so they can receive treatment faster, also plays a role.
Typical murders in Norway involve an offender and victim who are either in a close relationship or otherwise know one another.
In 11 of the 30 cases in 2015, the accused was in a relationship with the victim either at the time of the crime or earlier. This roughly follows the pattern of recent years, Bjørnebekk said.
In only one of the 30 cases was the accused a woman.
In 12 of the 30 cases of murder or deadly violence, the accused individual had a foreign background.
“People who move to Norway bring a number of risk factors so the number of killings committed by them is somewhat higher,” Bjørnebekk said.
The highest murder rate is among first-generation immigrants while the numbers go down in the second generation. For third-generation immigrants, the rate is virtually equal to the general public.
Research also show that people who are believed to be at high risk of committing murder can be stopped if they are raised in a safe community.