The recent case of a “youth gang” terrorizing a predominantly white neighborhood in western Helsinki exposes the knee-jerk reaction about how the media and public see suspected crime by brown and black Finns.
During the last week of August, a group of youths with covered faces at the Lauttasaari metro station allegedly attempted to rob a primary school child, who escaped home, according to Helsingin Sanomat.
Read the full story (in Finnish) here.
“The police are aware that in [the neighborhood of] Lauttasaari there have been cases of threatening behavior, following young people, and other forms of harassment. According to the police, a group of young people aged between 15 and 17 have been causing concern in the area,” reported the daily.
As a result of the latter, the neighborhood founded its own Facebook group to keep residents posted on the latest news and organized street patrols to ensure the safety of their children and that of other neighborhood residents.
in order for the whole matter to reach a new level of alarm, the police would have to be on the “side of the concerned citizens” reinforcing that youths with migrant backgrounds, or black and brown Finns, are a threat.
We saw this happen in Oulu with the sexual assault cases where the media, police and politicians fed the fear in 2018-2019. The rise of vigilante gangs like the Soldiers of Odin was an answer to the large amount of asylum seekers who came in 2015. The same issue was evident before the parliamentary election in April, when the Perussuomalaiset (PS)* party, copying what the far-right Sweden Democrats, used youth street gang violence as a winning campaign message.
In many cases, migrant crime, or specifically youth crime by black and brown Finns, is an easily exploitable theme that fuels the deepest suspicions and fears of some white Finns. Upbringing and being a small nation next door to a giant one, are some factors that fuel such fears.
A member of the Romany community highlighted the issue. He asked how would some white Finns react if a group of 20 Romany youths were in a group in public?
The answer: fear conditioned by prejudice and racism as we are seeing today with the incidents in Lauttasaari.