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Editorial: more stolen or more found out?

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The abundance of corruption cases discovered in Estonia recently is subject to varying interpretations. The simple one would be that corruption is on the rise. The other is praising the investigators for job well done.

The first would say it’s bad and getting worse. The second says we got it increasingly under control. Which do we believe? But why believe; let’s, rather, look at former experience. Which tells us the simpler explanation need not always be better.

True, the incidents unearthed these past years are impressively many and do breed insecurity. The Mayor of Tallinn, the Port of Tallinn, the «passport mafia», the traffic examiners, the local governmental leaders – just to name the best known ones.

But before getting overwhelmed, let’s dig into not-too-distant past. At the beginning of the 2000ies, trust towards the police performed a significant rise. Along with that, another statistical change struck the eye: in numbers, crime grew rapidly. By that, it was easy to deduct that the land was sinking into mire. And yet, it was not so: it was just that as people trusted the police more, they were motivated to notify the latter of crimes in hopes these would be solved.

Also: three years back there was this jump in domestic violence. Did it mean it was getting desperate at homes? Or was it that the police were getting aware of the incidents and dealt with the issues? It was probably the latter, rather, thought the statistics could easily have led to the former conclusion.

So what do we conclude today? Every time, the corruption is deplorable and needs to be punished. Every time the statistics alter, showing an uptick, we may not be sliding downhill.

On the contrary: perhaps, the cops are getting better catching the crooks.

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