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Wednesday Diaries: Knife Crime, Overdoses, and the Meeting Place of World Powers

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Candles at the site of Koskela’s murder which shocked Finland last year.

Image: Petteri Bülow / Yle

Over the past month, Helsinki police received reports from retailers that groups of young people – sometimes minors – were buying knives, according to a report to Helsingin Sanomat on Wednesday. In some cases, suspecting malicious intent, stores have denied young customers knives and small axes, although the law does not prevent children from making such purchases.

“The threshold to use a knife [on someone] has been extremely low lately. In addition to those already known to the police, we are now seeing young people with no criminal history. ” Marko Forss, who heads the juvenile crime unit at the Helsinki Police Department, told HS.

Violent crimes committed by Helsinki adolescents have made headlines several times this spring. Police in the capital last week reported that an 18-year-old was suspected of stabbing a 14-year-old, who in turn attempted to stab another minor victim in an incident in the neighborhood of Jätkäsaari, in the capital.

Knife attacks on young people have taken place in the city since the start of the pandemic, according to police.

Investigators also said that one of the perpetrators of the Vallilla teenage murder case in October bought a knife at a downtown Clas Ohlson department store just before the attack.

“I wondered if all of this, on some level, was symptomatic of the pandemic and people’s inactivity. That’s my best guess. These acts rarely have a clear motive,” Forss explained.

Drug overdoses

The Swedish daily Hufvudstadsbladet writes that each week, on average, four people die of drug overdoses in Finland.

The number of people under 25 dying of drug overdoses has tripled since 2015, Pirkko Kriikku, a forensic toxicologist at the THL public health institute, told HBL.

She said those deaths accelerated during last year’s pandemic, when some 70 young people lost their lives from drug overdoses, noting that the restrictions hit people already struggling to cope.

Another THL specialist, Inari Viskari, told the newspaper that Finland was not doing enough to prevent overdoses, saying: “If we had another disease that was killing four people a week, I think we would be doing a lot more.”

Top summit?

The american president Joe biden said he hoped to meet his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Poutine, in June, according to the tabloid Iltalehti, quoting the UKTN news agency.

The idea of ​​Helsinki being the site of a meeting between Biden and Putin surfaced again on Tuesday as news emerged that Biden is expected to confirm a number of summits in Europe next month.

Biden last month suggested a meeting in a third country to discuss topics such as the situation in Ukraine and the jailed Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny.

Besides Finland, Austria has expressed interest in hosting the summit.

In July 2018, Finland hosted a summit between Putin and Donald trump.

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