Why is Crime in Iceland So Low?

I think they gave away the answer right here:

Police are unarmed, too. The only officers permitted to carry firearms are on a special force called the Viking Squad, and they are seldom called out.

When you name your armed police force “The Viking Squad,” I think it pretty much stands to reason you won’t have to call them out much.

16 Responses to “Why is Crime in Iceland So Low?”

  1. mike says:

    Um, no – it’s because their largest city only has 120,000 people in it:

    I wonder how America’s crime rate would look if we excluded all cities with more than 120,000 people.

    Also, I doubt they have a lot of people promoting the thug life. I’d like to think they’d get laughed at, whereas here they’re given recording contracts.

  2. NotClauswitz says:

    And everyone, all 3000,000 people, are basically related to each other going back through two or three Viking expeditions around the 7thC., a settlement pattern that ended by the mid 900’s –
    How would American crime look if everybody was blond, blue eyed, and named Johnson of Johnsdaughter?

  3. Andy B. says:

    ““The Viking Squad,” I think it pretty much stands to reason you won’t have to call them out much.”

    Because you’re afraid they’ll rape your wife and daughter? Any relationship to the Pennsylvania State Police?

    How are they at pillaging 21st century churches?


    • Merle says:

      What have you got against the PSP ?


      • Andy B. says:

        What I was alluding to — and maybe it was a cheap shot at this late date — was the series the Philadelphia Inquirer ran c. 2005 about something like 80+ allegations by women that they had been sexually assaulted by PSP officers in traffic stops — in particular, police demands that, shall we say, female drivers blow into “alternative breathalyzers.”

        As I recall, one cop was convicted and I think pretty much hung out to dry as an “example,” but the number of attacks alleged — almost all independently — far exceeded the number that could actually be traced to that single officer.

        Here is one related news story from the era.

        “After a state trooper admitted that he sexually assaulted six women, after the state paid $6 million to his victims, after news broke of sexual harassment by top commanders, the Pennsylvania State Police cleaned up its act.”

        “Evans, now 39, pleaded guilty in 2000 to six sexual assaults, three involving teenage girls. He is serving five to 10 years in state prison.

        “A lawsuit filed by his victims unearthed a much wider scandal involving dozens of sexual-misconduct allegations against other state troopers – including one major who reportedly tried to rape his assistant.

        “‘We didn’t have a few bad apples,’ said Thomas Sheridan, the lawyer who filed that suit. ‘It was a systemic problem from top to bottom.'”

        • Merle says:

          OK, that explains it, I wasn’t living in PA back then. And it was a cheap shot.


      • Andy B. says:

        I forgot to add that I also have an illegal handgun registration system against them — just to remain topical.

      • Patrick H says:

        What DOESN’T anybody have against the PSP? For starters, their non-registry registry.

        • Merle says:

          OK, this doesn’t register with me either. Perhaps I haven’t lived here long enough….


  4. tincankilla says:

    or it could be their robust social services, limited division of income, and egalitarian ethos.

  5. damdoc says:

    Because NOBODY lives there… and no “undocumented” immigrants

  6. SPQR says:

    Because when the urge to violence gets too strong they sail to Ireland and burn a monastery.

  7. Alpheus says:

    The funny thing about Icelanders is that they have an interesting cultural paradox when it comes to law. The place was founded by a murderer and a tax cheat, and they had a system of government that was bordering on anarcho-capitalism…yet despite that, or perhaps because of it, they are a strongly law-abiding people.

    Indeed, except for their Viking raids, Medieval Icelanders weren’t all that murderous. It is estimated that the death toll of the feuds that finally pushed Icelanders to ask for Norwegian rule was lower than our current murder rate!

    Between this, and the fact that Icelandic society is small and very homogeneous, is it any wonder that they have such low crime rates? (And I have the feeling that, if Icelanders were armed to the teeth, they would be just as peaceful.)

    • Andy B. says:

      Relevant to what you said, yes, they were essentially an anarchist society.

      There was one guy that was essentially “the government,” in that it was his job to remember the rules, and recite them in public once every three years. But if he forgot to recite a rule, and nobody called him on it, it was no longer a rule. But it was up to the people to enforce the rules themselves.

      “Murder” was defined as killing someone and passing three houses without stopping to tell someone, so that the situation could be judged. If you were judged guilty of an unjustified killing, you owed the victim’s family the equivalent of twelve years income.

      A little more government than I can use, but a step in the right direction. ;-)

  8. MrPickle says:

    They don’t have a bunch of different racial/ethnic groups competing for resources like we do. That’s the real reason.

  9. Dave says:

    Iceland is also one of the most homogenous countries. Just saying.