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Impact of the 2022 Moscovian military aggression on crime trends in Ukraine (analysis of crime prevention policy in the light of statistics for 2013 – 2022)

The paper focuses on the 2022 crime trends in Ukraine, subjected to deep changes due to the 2022 Moscovian military invasion of Ukraine. The paper stressed that the 2022 invasion is the first full-scale war in the centre of the European continent after World War II with the openly declared participation of the biggest European states, which has become a new and broad field for criminological research concerning the impacts of contemporary wars on contemporary digital and technological societies.

The author argues that crime trends in wartime Ukraine have become an interesting criminological phenomenon for a researcher due to the dualistic nature of such trends. On one hand, the number of crimes committed in Ukraine in 2022, exceeded the number of crimes committed in 2021 and 2020. On the other one, the number of criminal proceedings, with concrete suspects (with given notifications of suspicion) dropped almost 1,5 times as compared with 2021, which serves as an indicator of the decreasing effectiveness of the national criminal justice system.

The author points out that a traditional view on the wartime society as a more criminogenic one is partly refuted by Ukrainian crime statistics. The official crime statistics demonstrate a significant increase only in the numbers of those crimes, which are directly concerned with the war (crimes against human life, crimes against national security, war crimes and crimes against mobilisation).

The paper focuses on some demographic trends. It is found that the percentage of crimes committed in 2022 by offenders over 60 has increased to a large extent which can be partly explained with the involvement of such persons in collaboration by Moscovian occupiers before and during the 2022 War.

The author explains a rapid increase of crimes of intentional homicide, other crimes against human life and health, as well as crimes against will, honour and dignity of a person and offenses against military service (military crimes), which is explained by the impact of the 2022 Moscovian invasion.

In contrast, it is found that property crimes demonstrated a rapid decrease, although one could have expected that many citizens would commit more property crimes in light of the deep ruin of traditional social and economic relations caused by the War. Generally speaking, the statistics of 2022 demonstrate a significant decrease in thefts and other property crimes (excluding crimes of fraud).

As far as drug-related crimes are concerned, the analysis of their trends gives more grounds in favour of the previously shaped the author’s argument that the 2022 War ‘bared’ a real social and political nature of drug-related criminality in Ukraine. The author proves that the crime drug market is strictly controlled by the police, where the police use potential drug offenders as a permanent source of illegal (corruptive) income. Being deprived of other traditional corruption incomes during the 2022 War, the police have reacted to the challenges caused by the 2022 War with a ‘deeper attention’ to petty drug offenders.

The author has found that for the whole period of 2013 – 2021 there had been registered only 854 war crimes. In 2022, 62128 war crimes were registered, which clearly demonstrate the difference between pre-war Ukraine and wartime Ukraine.

It is also pointed out that the number of sex crimes decreased significantly, as could be expected from wartime society.

The author argues that the 2022 Moscovian military invasion had brought a serious increase in the numbers of crimes in the sphere of protection of state secrets, inviolability of state borders, provision of conscription and mobilization.

At the same time, crimes against justice have mostly gone into the shadows in Ukraine. Official crime statistics demonstrate a rapid decrease of crimes against justice (more than two times as compared with 2021) although we tend to analyse such a decrease in the light of a factual sabotage of the LEA in registering such crimes.

A significant decrease in crimes against public services points to the fact that most of such crimes have also gone into the shadows. Crimes of receiving a bribe had also gone to shadow. A crime of bribery reflects a dualistic trend – a decrease in registered ‘white-collar’ crimes and an increase in the ratio between registered crimes and the number of notifications of suspicion in related criminal proceedings.

Reduction in family violence could be explained by different factors like the mass migration of many potential victims to other European countries and participation (both voluntary and compulsory) of many potential perpetrators in military actions. In any case, the traditional social basis for family violence was minimised to a large extent with the 2022 War.

The author analyses the crime of smuggling and smuggling of drugs, which had occupied a permanent segment in the general structure of the Ukrainian crime statistics until 2022.

It is also stressed that crime trends in Ukraine for the last ten years are a good example to explain a common social nature of THB crimes and ‘satellite (‘shadow’) crimes, where indicators of all the mentioned crime trends are changing almost the same way.