Estonian Market Research Institute (EMRI) consumer barometer indicates that the consumer confidence increased and inflation expectations weakened over the past month, reports Aripaev Online. The EMR January poll indicated that the confidence of families (consumers) was below the long-term (1992-2011) average, but improved over the past month. In January the confidence index was -13 (In December -18, and the long-term average -10). The expectations about the family and state economic situation improved, while the evaluation of development trends of the labor market did not change much. Inflation expectations fell a bit, from 26 points in December to 21 in January. Consumers expect prices to increase seven percent in the next 12 months versus nine percent in November and eight percent in December. The evaluations of consumers are usually overrated but show the correct trend. The financial situation of families was stable. In January 38 percent of families saved money, 51 percent made ends meet, 11 percent lived off of old savings or were in debt.
The Estonian Riigikogu approved on Jan. 18 law amendments that, among other things, expand the possibilities of using the automated number identification system at the borders, reports National Broadcasting. While in the Estonian internal border, i.e. the common land border of Estonia and EU states, such full control has not been allowed so far, the new law gives more possibilities for this. At the exterior border the Tax and Customs Board uses an automatic identification system of license plate numbers and identification labels of cars, trains and sea containers, which selects higher risk vehicles on the basis of risk analysis. Such devices have been installed in Narva, Luhamaa and Koidula border checkpoint customs control zones. Now, after the law amendment, the Tax and Customs Board intends to install recording devices near former border checkpoints, Murati, Moisakula, Ikla and two former Valga border checkpoints. In agreement with managers of ports and the airport, similar devices can be installed in their territories if need be.
According to Justice Ministry statistics, investigative institutions and the prosecutor’s office registered 42,567 crimes in Estonia in 2011, which was by 5,773 crimes lower than in 2010, reports National Broadcasting. A change in the structure of crimes also took place: the share of crimes against property fell, while the number of traffic crimes and violence cases increased. “It is a positive thing that the number of thefts fell 20 percent, the number of illegal entries by 22 percent and the number of robberies by 12 percent. It should also be pointed out that the rate of solving crimes grew to over 50 percent again. From the negative side, the growth of the number of bodily abuse cases by 11 percent and traffic crimes by 10 percent should be pointed out,” said Justice Minister Kristen Michal. The crime rate per 10,000 inhabitants continued to be highest in Tallinn and Ida-Virumaa. The number of crimes fell in 12 counties, grew in 2 and was at the same level in 1 county. In Laanemaa it fell by 26 percent. Michal said that besides statistics, population poll data show that the situation is improving too: according to a December poll, the feeling of safety of Estonian people stays high for the third year, and the share of crime victims has fallen. The State’s Prosecutor General Norman Aas said that real progress was made in 2011 in ascertaining and arresting incomes received by criminal activity; 3.5 million euros was confiscated from criminals.