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One percent of Swedish crimes linked to refugees

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Border police at Hyllie station in Malmö last month. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT
10:41 CET+01:00
Only one percent of all police call-outs in the period between October and the end of last month have concerned incidents involving refugees, according to fresh official statistics.

Put together by the Dagens Nyheter daily (DN) on Tuesday, the new figures put in perspective previous reports that Swedish police have been called out to 5,000 incidents linked to asylum accommodation or other issues concerning refugees since mid-October.

The newspaper revealed that from October 15th to the end of January Swedish police were called out to deal with a total of 537,466 incidents – which means that the number connected to refugees makes up less than one percent of the grand total.

"Given the enormous attention that crime among new arrivals has been given in the past six months, one percent does not sound like a lot. It means that 99 percent of what the police do cannot be linked to new arrivals," Felipe Estrada, criminology professor at Stockholm University, told DN.

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It has previously been revealed that police have designated a special code, R291, for incidents involving refugees, allowing them to keep tabs on how last autumn's record influx of asylum seekers into the country has affected their work.

Thomas Wallberg, of the Swedish police’s National Operations Department (NOA), suggested that the crime rate had not gone up significantly despite reports of increasing tension between refugees and locals in recent months, saying that the figures on the whole represented "the normal picture of police interventions".

"The difference is that this community is compressed into a small space. When a crime is committed in this little space, the entire community easily becomes associated with it," he told DN.

The R291 code was introduced in October at the peak of Sweden’s refugee crisis when as many as 10,000 new asylum seekers were registering in the country every week. 

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At the time police saw a surge in the number of call-outs to crimes of violence, arson and intimidation at asylum centres. The code coveres all cases “involving migrant situations”, including cases where asylum seekers are victims or perpetrators of crimes. 

Sweden took in a record 163,000 asylum seekers in 2015.

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