Homicide research has been a long-standing research focus in the Finnish criminology and also in the research programme of the Institute of Criminology and Legal Policy. This traditional emphasis reflects the fact that Finnish homicide rates have been for a long time higher than homicide rates in other Nordic countries. Homicide scholarship inspired by the comparatively high Finnish homicide rates also contributed to early international comparative data building. Reflecting this research programme, the Institute created the Finnish Homicide Monitor system in 2002 and has subsequently participated in ongoing efforts to create a European Homicide Monitor.
The Finnish Homicide Monitor (FHM) is maintained jointly by the Institute of Criminology and Legal Policy, the Finnish Police College and the Police Department of the Ministry of the Interior. It includes all intentional homicides reported to the Finnish police after May, 2002. The FHM is based on information produced during preliminary investigations. The data are collected directly by the chief investigator of each individual homicide on a compulsory standard electronic form. The national crime reporting system of the police is used as a control measure to make sure that all cases are included and that all the data are acquired. Information is registered after the preliminary investigation is closed. For crimes that are not cleared within a reasonable amount of time, the available data are registered about one year after the initiation of the investigation, provided that the case is still being investigated as a probable homicide. The data cover the crimes investigated by the police under the legal definitions of murder (murha), voluntary manslaughter (tappo), voluntary manslaughter under mitigating circumstances (surma), infanticide (lapsensurma) and assault resulting in death (pahoinpitely ja kuolemantuottamus). Attempted homicides are not included.