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CRIME

Confidence in police at new low

Swedish crime victims’ confidence in the police has fallen to a record low, according to a new survey on people’s attitudes towards the public services, but Justice Minister Thomas Bodström has dismissed the survey as "crackpot".

The Swedish Quality Index (SKI) interviewed people who have had close contact with public services such as the police, health service and education service.

Dentists were given high points by the survey, with private dentists scoring higher than the state-run Folktandvården service. Patients gave dentists a score of 75 on a scale of 1-100.

Victims of theft and violent crime gave the police a score of 49.4. This was the second year in a row that confidence in the police has dropped. Crime victims have lower expectations of the police than users of any of the other public services, the report says.

“This is extremely serious and indicates that their service simply isn’t working,” said Jan Eklöf at the Stockholm School of Economics.

Increased dissatisfaction with the police is due to the fact that too few crimes are solved, Eklöf argues.

But Justice Minister Thomas Bodström slated the report, saying it was comparing apples and pears.

“This is a crackpot survey. You can’t compare pulling out a tooth to investigating a crime,” he said.

The police have always done badly in SKI’s annual reports – they have had the bottom placing since the mid-nineties – although this year’s score of under fifty percent is a new low.

“I am the first to admit that the police should be better, but I don’t set much store by comparisons such as this,” Bodström said to TT. He pointed to a series of surveys by the SOM Institute at Gothenburg University, which often show high levels of public confidence in the police.

But Stefan Strömberg, the National Police Commissioner, said he too the report’s results seriously.

“It is regrettable that we don’t get better scores,” he said.

“This is something that we are working on, and we hope to get better results in the future.”

Strömberg said the police’s capabilities for solving ‘everyday crimes’ were improving rapidly, and efforts in crime prevention would also have an effect.

CRIME

Sweden breaks yearly record for fatal shootings

A man was shot to death in Kristianstad, Skåne, late on Thursday night. He is the 48th person to be shot dead in Sweden this year, meaning that the previous record for most fatal shootings in one year set in 2020 has now been broken.

Sweden breaks yearly record for fatal shootings

“Unfortunately we can’t say more than that he’s in his twenties and we have no current suspects,” duty officer Mikael Lind told TT newswire.

According to police statistics, this most recent deadly shooting means that 48 people have been shot to death in 2022, meaning that Sweden has broken a new record for deadly shootings per year.

Earlier this week, Sweden’s police chief Anders Thornberg said that this number is likely to rise even higher before the end of the year.

“It looks like we’re going to break the record this year,” he told TT on Tuesday. “That means – if it continues at the same pace – around 60 deadly shootings.”

“If it ends up being such a large increase that would be very unusual,” said Manne Gerell, criminiologist at Malmö University.

“We saw a large increase between 2017 and 2018, and we could see the same now, as we’re on such low figures in Sweden. But it’s still worrying that it’s increasing by so much over such a short time period,” he said.

There also seems to be an upwards trend in the number of shootings overall during 2022. 273 shootings had occured by September 1st this year, compared with 344 for the whole of 2021 and 379 for the whole of 2020.

If shootings continue at this rate for the rest of 2022, it is likely that the total number for the year would be higher than 2021 and 2020. There are, however, fewer injuries.

“The majority of shootings cause no injuries, but this year, mortality has increased substantially,” Gerell explained. “There aren’t more people being shot, but when someone is shot, they’re more likely to die.”

Thursday’s shooting took place in Kristianstad, but it’s only partially true that deadly gun violence is becoming more common in smaller cities.

“It’s moved out somewhat to smaller cities, but we’re overexaggerating that effect,” Gerell said. “We’re forgetting that there have been shootings in other small cities in previous years.”

A report from the Crime Prevention Council (Brå) presented last spring showed that Sweden, when compared with 22 different countries in Europe, was the only one with an upwards trend for deadly shootings.

Temporary increases can be seen during some years in a few countries, but there were no countries which showed such a clear increase as Sweden has seen for multiple years in a row, according to Brå.

The Swedish upwards trend for deadly gun violence began in the beginning of the 2000s, but the trend took off in 2013 and has continued to increase since.

Eight of ten deadly shootings take place in criminal environments, the study showed. The Swedish increase has taken place in principle only among the 20-29 year old age group.

When police chief Anders Thornberg was asked how the trend can be broken, he said that new recruitments are one of the most important factors.

“The most important thing is to break recruitment, make sure we can listen encrypted and that we can get to the profits of crime in a better way,” he said.

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