More and more violent crime and gang crime in Sweden: police officers are at the place where a man was found shot dead in Solna near Stockholm on Friday.
Shots are fired, explosive charges detonated, and time and again, bystanders are hit: a brutal war between rival gangs keeps Sweden in suspense. In the Stockholm area alone, five violent crimes occurred within a few hours. One man was killed, officers found the victim with gunshot wounds. “Gang crime is escalating,” said Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson (59) on Saturday at SVT. “These are people with an extreme potential for violence who, in search of revenge or status, threaten the safety and freedom of others.”
Kristersson’s new government has vowed to end the gang violence that Sweden has been grappling with for years. In 2022, there were 388 gun incidents in the EU country, and 61 people died. The police seem to have lost control. Since 2015, the clear-up rate for deadly attacks has dropped, in 2022 only every fourth act led to a conviction. As a result, the gangs consider murder to be risk-free, said criminologist Amir Rostami. The criminals are becoming more and more brutal.
Earlier this year, Blick met people suffering from the situation at two crime scenes in Sweden. The escalating gang crime is increasingly causing hopelessness (see video).
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Investigator Caroline Asplund accuses the police of “total failure”. Officials have always demanded that others, such as social services, schools and parents, help with prevention. The authority itself lacks self-criticism.
In the Stockholm area, shots and detonations have increased noticeably since Christmas: the police counted more than 20 incidents in December.
Justice Minister Gunnar Strömmer (50) speaks of “terrorists”. “That’s why it’s so incredibly important that we don’t become numb,” he said. About 190 officials from other parts of the country were sent to the capital to provide support. Among other things, Strömmer wants to expand the options for wiretapping suspected perpetrators. In addition, the conservative government, supported by right-wing populists, wants to tighten immigration policy. This is also supposed to affect gang crime: According to experts, members are increasingly being recruited from immigrant families.
A conflict over the drug market in the city of Sundsvall, almost 400 kilometers further north, is suspected to be one of the reasons. According to the SVT and the newspaper Aftonbladet, a 24-year-old with a criminal network is in charge there, and a 36-year-old living in Turkey – known in Sweden as the “Kurdish fox” – wants to challenge him for the position. Several acts are said to have been directed against relatives of the two main actors.
Prime Minister Kristersson: “Very serious situation in Sweden”(00:37)
Perpetrators are getting younger and younger
A police spokeswoman called the situation “very tense”. “This is not the norm and has never happened in this spiral of violence,” she said. A police expert on gang violence, Gunnar Appelgren, spoke of a very serious conflict. It’s about “kill or be killed”.
Victims and perpetrators are always younger. On Friday evening, two minors were injured in a chase. Police found guns in the car they were driving. Also on Saturday afternoon, three young people were arrested after a man was shot at in the southern Stockholm district of Enskede. Half of the suspects are under 18, said investigating commander Hanna Paradis recently.
The crimes cause fear among local residents. On December 27, two girls in the southern Stockholm suburb of Enskededalen heard a loud bang. At first they thought the noise was coming from the TV, said 10-year-old Liv SVT. But it was a detonation. Since then she has felt insecure, the girl said. (SDA/bab)