The crime rate in Belarus increases for the second year running
The growth of crime in Belarus is a new trend, deriving from both objective and political factors.
Over the past two years, Belarus has seen an increase in registered crime. In 2020, 8% more crime was reported than in 2019, which itself experienced 5.4% more crime than in 2018. Both violent and property crime increased, with extortion rising by 53.7% and thefts via computer technology rising threefold.
Politically motivated criminal cases are separately accounted for under "extremist orientation", with 2300 incidents reported in 2020. Such cases have been declared as a priority for investigative bodies in 2021.
The combination of adverse economic factors, the increase in high technology crime and the greater priority assigned to regime security over citizen security create conditions for further increases in criminal activity.
In contrast, some acts which may not involve the loss or danger inherent in crime may be elevated to this status for political reasons, making an unfavourable contribution to crime statistics.
One of the ruling regime's landmark achievements has been the relatively low level of criminality in Belarus. A key plank of official propaganda, contrasting rampant crime in the 1990s with the present day, is at risk of being undermined.