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Drunken Swedes choose knives to kill: study

Drunken Swedes choose knives to kill: study

Published: 03 Oct 2011 10:06 GMT+02:00
Updated: 03 Oct 2011 10:06 GMT+02:00

The average murderer in Sweden and neighbouring Finland are drunk men armed with knives who kill on the spur of the moment, according to a new study.

“This study is unique because it is the first time that a large amount of comparable data is available, making it possible to study deadly violence in three European countries,” said Sven Granath of Sweden's National Council on Crime Prevention (Brottsförebyggande rådet – Brå) in a statement.

The study, a collaboration between Sweden's National Council on Crime Prevention, the National Research Institute of Legal Policy in Finland and the Institute for Criminal Law and Criminology of Leiden university in the Netherlands, shows that in Sweden and Finland the ”average” killer is an inebriated man who kills by stabbing his victim on the spur of the moment.

In both Nordic countries, violence very much depends on the alcohol habits of the population.

The typical murder in both Finland and Sweden occurs when two male acquaintances or friends are sitting at home drinking.

Suddenly a fight erupts and one ends up dead. The average murder weapon of choice?

A kitchen knife.

“These murders have not been planned, they happen spontaneously. It really is just chance which dictates who ends up dead, “ said Johanna Hagstedt of Brå, who has worked on the international comparison study between Sweden, Finland and the Netherlands.

The study also shows, that in the Netherlands, by comparison, the murderers are sober and choose a gun over a blade.

“They have a different kind of gang criminality, which shows in their murder statistics,” Hagstedt said.

According to Hagstedt, murders in the Netherlands are also more likely to occur on the street, in the cities where gang life is common.

In Finland, on the other hand, most murders happen in the countryside.

Alcohol does not even show up in Dutch murder statistics. According to Hagstedt this means that alcohol is not as big a problem in the Netherlands.

However, there is Swedish research showing a clear connection between alcohol and murder over the last century.

Although there are differences between the three countries, there are also many similarities.

Deadly violence is, for example, more likely to occur at night or at the weekend.

And the characteristics of both perpetrators and victims are also similar. To a large extent they are men, born within the country, and between ages 25 and 64.

The study is based on data collected from the three countries over four years and was funded by the EU.

TT/The Local/rm (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

11:17 October 3, 2011 by Åskar
In America they have handguns. Here we have knives. Same, same but different.
11:58 October 3, 2011 by riose
@Åskar

In USA there is 5 times more murders per capita.

Is like comparing USA and Rwanda. Not the same thing.
12:57 October 3, 2011 by RobinHood
@Åskar

Usually, just over 30 000 people get shot to death in the US in any one year, half of them suicides, and about 13 000 murders. That puts death by gunshot in the top ten causes of death in the US. Incredibly, about 200 000 a year are injured, who consume billions of Dollars of healthcare budget every year.

I can't find the figures for death by knife in Sweden, but guess it's no more than a few dozen a year for murder, suicide and accidents combined. Not the same - very different.
15:53 October 3, 2011 by eppie
'''And the characteristics of both perpetrators and victims are also similar. To a large extent they are men, born within the country, and between ages 25 and 64. ''''

Whereas of course in Belgium most murderers fall in the group of females aged 4 to 12, while in France 80 % of murders is commited by gay immigrant men in their seventies, (as is common knowledge).
15:56 October 3, 2011 by Svensksmith
I wonder if the chopstick is the weapon of choice in China?
18:50 October 3, 2011 by BigDogRex
@riose

Not sure about your math in claiming U.S. homicide rate is 5x that of Sweden.

U.S. 2010 homicide rate (per 100,000): 4.8

Swedish 2010 homicide3 rate (per 100,000): 4.0

(Sources: FBI 2010 Uniform Crime Report; Brottförebyggande rådet, 2010)

Other interesting statistics (per 100,000):

Rape (forcible)

U.S.: 27 (figure comparable with BRÅ's; U.S. rate per 100,000 FEMALE population is 54)

Sweden: 64

Assault (battery in some jurisdictions), incl. agg. (per 100,000)

U.S.: 252

Sweden: 936
20:59 October 3, 2011 by burito
God job BigDog!What you gona say now-Blondies:)??Go.......USA!!!
21:29 October 3, 2011 by blursd
Well, I think it's clear the only way to solve this troubling problem is to completely ban all automatic and semi-automatic knives, and place a thirty day waiting period on all new knife purchases. That will solve the the problem.

Just remember ... knives don't kill people. People kill people ...
23:03 October 3, 2011 by Daveo
Right. A better reason for systembolaget to start with home delivery.
23:43 October 3, 2011 by roberzo
@blursd

Automatic knives DO exist (they're so 80's...) and AFAIK are forbidden in every country of the EU.
18:58 October 6, 2011 by graceolsson
Who said to you that knives kill people?

The alchool is dangerous but ONLY who wants to drink alchool can be a drunk. No other way for it...so...the solution isn´t destroyer the knives...the solution is to EDUCATE PEOPLE...But it isn´t easy..Crazy people are everywhere, all over the world and when they want to kill a person, they can do it using a knive, wood, gun or...the teeth.

hahahhahahaha...
17:23 October 7, 2011 by Mr Varm Korv
So, in Sweden you are most likely to be murdered by a Swede and in Finland you are most likely to be murdered by a Finn? Brottsförebyggande with it's finger on the pulse of crime.

"Knives don't kill" ... true, but they do help.
05:34 October 8, 2011 by MitchT
The solution is obvious: First, outlaw alcohol, as was successfully done in the United States. Then send all the Swedes to Finland where they can't kill other Swedes and the Finns to Sweden where... Oh, wait...
23:52 October 10, 2011 by muscle
same in china!
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