Number of Reported Rapes Reached Record High in 2018 Skip to content

Number of Reported Rapes Reached Record High in 2018

Last year, a total of 263 rapes were reported to the police authorities, a 20% increase from 2017, RÚV reports. Relative to population, by far the most rapes were reported in the Westman Islands, owing most likely to the annual Þjóðhátíð Festival. Thousands attend the festival each year.

Every year, the National Commissioner of the Icelandic Police publishes a summary of all of the registered crimes in Iceland, classified by jurisdiction and category. Approximately 550 sex crimes were reported to the police authorities in Iceland last year, almost half of which were rapes. Never before have more rapes been reported to the police in a single year, or 263 total. In 2017, 213 rapes were reported to the police, compared to 98 in 2010.

181 Rapes Reported in the Capital Region

Unsurprisingly, by far the most rapes were committed in the Capital Region (the most populous area of Iceland). Police authorities registered 181 rapes in the greater Reykjavík area, compared to 140 in 2017, and 71 in 2014. The number of rapes reported in other regions has remained approximately the same, with the exception of the Westman Islands. In 2014, two rapes were reported in the Westman Islands, six in 2015, five in 2016, ten in 2017; and eight in 2018. In 2018, 23 rapes were reported in Iceland’s Southern Region, 21 were reported in the Northeastern Region, 15 in the Southern Peninsula. Last year, the fewest rapes were reported in the Eastern Region of Iceland, the Northwestern Region Iceland, the West Fjords, and the Western Region of Iceland, or three to four in each jurisdiction.

Relatively High Number of Sex Crimes in Small Regions Traced to Big Festivals

Police authorities also calculate the number of offences per ten thousand residents in each of Iceland’s nine jurisdictions, i.e. how common a given offence is relative to population. These figures paint a slightly different picture. Each year, reports of sex crimes and rapes emerge during or after the Þjóðhátíð Festival. The Police Commissioner’s report notes that when the number of offences in less populous jurisdictions is high in comparison with other more populous jurisdictions, a possible explanation may be annual festivals, in which the population of small jurisdictions skyrocket.

In 2018, the most rapes relative to population were reported in the West Man Islands or approximately 19 per ten thousand residents. The Southern Region is second, with approximately nine per ten thousand residents. Relative to population, the fewest rapes were reported in the Western Region of Iceland, roughly two per ten thousand residents. The Capital Region averaged about eight per ten thousand residents.

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