Apparently, Belarus’ image of a safe state may be revised amid a significant growth in crimes, most likely, due to socio-economic reasons.
On August 13th, 2019, the president held a debriefing with the Chairman of the Investigative Committee, Ivan Naskevich. The latter said that in January-July 2019, crimes increased in number by 8.3% as compared with H1 2018, pending criminal cases increased by 12.3% from 75,000 cases to 84,200 cases, and 25900 defendants were referred to the court by prosecutors, which was 1.8% more than in 2018.
According to the Interior Ministry statistics, in 2019, crimes were on the rise in Minsk – by almost 25%, primarily due to an increase in less serious crimes and crimes which did not threaten public safety (by about 10%). Given that half of all crimes in Belarus constituted thefts, they were also responsible for the overall deterioration in the crime statistics. In addition, according to the Investigative Committee, the increase in crime is insignificant, but is gaining momentum.
Previously, former Interior Minister Ihar Shunevich reported about a slowdown in a downward trend in crimes.
Theft is a socio-economic crime. The surge of thefts in Belarus was in the 90s during a deep socio-economic crisis caused by the collapse of the Soviet system. As the economy recovered, the overall criminal situation in Belarus had improved.
It would be premature to speak about a downward trend in the crime situation in Belarus based on the H1 2019 statistics, however, the observed increase in crime is significant. That said, the president had already reiterated the idea of resuming the practice of joint street patrolling by the police and military.